Cristiano Ronaldo was born on the 5th February 1985, on the small island of Madeira, Portugal.
Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in Manchester amid a media storm. Manchester United had managed to sign the player without the Press suspecting anything. As the Stock Market was told that the player had been signed, hundreds of journalists flooded up to Manchester to get a proper look at one of Manchester United's youngest signings.
Named after Ronald Reagan, due to his father's respect for the man, few would have gambled that this child would make it to the very top of the Football tree, especially with Madeira mainly being used for farm-land. He has one brother and two sisters, and it is family whom he deems most important in his life.
It was on the dusty back-streets of this small island that Ronaldo learnt his first few tricks, and it was also on this Island that he was first scouted. By the age of twelve Ronaldo had established himself as the best player on the Island, able to use his ball skills and pace to get past full-grown defenders for Andorinha.
Having been recognised as a serious talent, all that was left was for the big Portuguese clubs to scrap it out for his signature. Though Porto and Boavista came in for him, he could only ever play for Sporting the club he supported as a boy.
He progressed slowly through the youth ranks, although all those who worked with him were impressed with the talent that he had for his age, as well as his maturity.
At the tender age of 17, Ronaldo was thrown in at the deep end with his first game against Moreirense. Two goals on his first appearance not only gave him his dream debut, but also endeared him to the fans, who soon learnt to chant for the ball to be passed to him. A goal against title-rivals Boavista also saw him rise to the top of the "Fan's Favourites" list.
His skills were watched closely by all of the big clubs in Europe, including Liverpool and Juventus, in the U-17 European Championships. His dazzling skills put England U-17s out, and everyone who watched felt they had seen something special.
At the end of his first season at Sporting he was linked to Liverpool. Though he claimed he was extremely happy at Sporting, he was also flattered by the interest of such a big club, who used to do well in the Premier League.
Sporting finished top in the league, and Ronaldo was hailed as the future of the club, alongside Quaresma, another Portuguese Starlet.
As it was, both moved away, with the money on the table to much for the Portuguese club to turn down. Best-friend Quaresma ended up at Barcelona, whilst Ronaldo came to the bright red of Manchester.
The deal saw Ronald become the most expensive teenage signing in Britain, with Manchester United paying £12.24million over two seasons, in two equal payments.
Those who had not seen him play baulked at the price such a lot of money for someone unproven!
Those who had seen the Man Utd vs. Sporting friendly just three days before, however, knew that this player was special. Playing for Sporting, Ronaldo had taken the game to the reds, and was the main reason that Manchester United lost 3-1. After the game, all the United players could talk about was how well Ronaldo had played, and they begged Sir Alex to buy him. Sir Alex had been following him for months, but decided that the time was right not least because other clubs were getting increasingly closer to buying him.
An so, on 12th August 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo held up the famous Red shirt, with his favourite number 7 (it is hero Figo's number) for all the press to see.
A new star had been born.
His first performance for the club was against Bolton. He entered the fray with an hour gone, with United 1 0 up. A standing ovation from the fans at old Trafford did nothing to settle his nerves, but he rewarded the fans for their trust. A man-of-the-match performance followed, and Ronaldo became legend. He had a hand in two of the goals, won an unconverted penalty, and mesmerised the Bolton defence.
The next day the media proclaimed him one of the best players ever for United, comparing him with Red-Legend George Best. Much had been seen, but much is still to come. Ronaldo got better and better as the season went on, eventually leading the Reds to the FA Cup - though somewhat suprisingly, he was not awarded "Man of the Match in that game". It was a disappointing season for United, but no-one was questioning whether Ronaldo was worth the £12million Sir Alex had splashed out on him just eight months previously - everyone could see that Ronaldo was going to be an incredible player.
Ronaldo matured so much during his first year at United that he became a regular in the Portuguese national first team squad. He played a major role in their progress to the final of Euro 2004, where they opposed Greece. In a match that was played on Portuguese soil, Portugal deserved to win the game, but were beaten by a goal scored on the counter-attack by a defensive Greece team.
Ronaldo was also selected for the Portuguese Olympic football team for 2004. He is fast becoming the greatest player who ever lived.
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