Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most famous and recognizable athletes on the planet, and the majority would say that he is either the best or second best soccer player currently in the game. The 30-year-old has had a breathtaking career so far, shattering countless goalscoring records and picking up dozens of trophies and awards whilst electrifying crowds with his extraordinary pace, strength, technical ability, athleticism and goalscoring ability. The Real Madrid and Portugal superstar is also a fascinating character with an interesting history off of the pitch too, making him one of the more intriguing athletes around.
10. He is Named After Ronald Reagan
Ronaldo was born on February 5th, 1985, to Maria Dolores dos Santos (a cook) and Jose Dinis Aveiro (a municipal gardener) and is the youngest of four. To us, he is Cristiano Ronaldo, but his full name is Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, with his father giving him his second given name, “Ronaldo.” The reason for this was that his father was a big fan of then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan, particularly his acting work. It would not be the only nickname that Cristiano has been given, as he is now often called CR7, Ronnie the Rocket and Maquina (Machine). Unfortunately, Cristiano’s father passed away at the age of 52, due to alcoholism. Ronaldo was just 20 years old at the time, and it has had a huge impact on his life and is the reason why he does not drink alcohol.
9. He Had Heart Surgery at the Age of 15
Ronaldo is considered to be the pinnacle of health, and you will struggle to find an athlete that is in better shape than the Portugal and Real Madrid legend. This has not always been the case, however; at just 15 years old his career was nearly over before it began as he was diagnosed with tachycardia, which meant his heart rate was higher than normal, even whilst resting. It is particularly dangerous to play sport with this condition, but fortunately it was diagnosed and treated before it became a serious problem. It was treated through surgery which used a laser to cauterize the problematic area of his heart, and he was released the same day. In typical Ronaldo fashion, he was back in training just a few days later. This makes his rise to fame even more impressive, as it has certainly not been an easy path to the top.
8. He Has His Own Museum in His Honor
We all know that Ronaldo has a huge ego, and this is most evident through the fact that in 2013 he opened his own museum in his honor. This is situated in his hometown of Madeira, and contains all of the trophies and awards that he has won, which is over 150 pieces. He also has plenty of extra space for more trophies, which he will surely add in the coming years. The first pieces that fans will see when they enter the museum, called CR7, is the first ever trophy that he won with his boyhood team, Andorinha, when he was just eight years old. Another example of his large ego can be found in another museum, Museo de Cera, where he sends a stylist to brush the hair of his life-size waxwork model every 45 days. The model features real hair that was imported from India.
7. He is Just Two Goals Shy of Real Madrid’s All-Time Leading Scorer, Raul
Cristiano Ronaldo’s goalscoring antics have been utterly astonishing throughout his career, seeing him net 499 goals for club and country in 749 appearances. He has been most prolific at Real Madrid, where he seems to shatter a new record each week. He is on the brink of a big one, as he is currently just two goals shy of Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer, Raul, who scored 323 goals for Los Blancos. What is particularly breathtaking about the fact that Ronaldo will soon eclipse this record is the fact that Ronaldo has played over 400 fewer games, which is a truly staggering amount when you think about it. Ronaldo has scored 321 from 305 appearances, and he has been devastating again this season, scoring five goals against Espanyol in September and notching his 37th hat-trick against Shakhtar.
6. He Paid $83,000 for a Brain Operation for a 10 Month Old Boy
Due to his ego, Ronaldo often gets a bad name and he is a polarizing figure in the soccer world. He is in fact incredibly generous, caring and aware of the world around him, and even topped our list of The 10 Most Charitable Athletes in the World last month. A great example of this charitable nature is when he was asked to donate his boots to a charity auction, which was to raise funds for an $83,000 operation for a 10-month-old with a brain disorder. Ronaldo decided to pay for the operation and further treatments himself, and although not an enormous amount of money for the star, it shows his caring and generous nature. He has also paid for treatments for a 9-year-old with apparent terminal cancer, as well as donated over $165,000 to fund a cancer center that saved his mother’s life.
5. He Can Jump Higher Than an Average NBA Player
One of the most impressive aspects of Ronaldo’s game is his brilliant aerial ability. When the ball comes in the box from a cross, you will frequently see him soar above everyone and cause complete havoc, whether it is scoring with a powerful header or attracting multiple defenders. This is partly down to his strength, but largely due to his amazing vertical leap. With a starting run up, the forward can reach a whopping 78 cm off the floor (30.7 inches). This is a full 7 cm higher than the average NBA player, and this is particularly impressive as a vertical leap is so key in basketball. Although small (for basketball), you can certainly see Ronaldo being able to play to a relatively high level due to this vertical jump, strength, speed and determination. These attributes would also enable him to perform to a high standard at almost any sport.
4. He Has Less Body Fat Than Most Supermodels
Cristiano is very quick to remove his shirt after scoring goals or at the end of matches, and this puts everyone who is watching at home to shame, even those in top physical condition. Ronaldo is one of the finest athletes on the planet, and this enables him to perform to a higher level than most on the pitch, and it has certainly helped him to become one of the best players to ever play the game. He has got into this remarkable shape through a very vigorous workout regime and diet, and this gives him a body fat ratio of 10%, which is less than most supermodels. Unlike supermodels, he is also very muscular, which is what gives him such a defined physique. It is also, of course, why he is so quick to remove his shirt and put the rest of us to shame.
3. He Has Scored in Every Minute of a Game Over His Career
Last season, Ronaldo scored in the 7th minute against Atletico Madrid. This may have seemed like just another goal for Ronnie the Rocket, but it actually gave him an amazing record which only he has ever achieved; he has scored in every single minute of a 90 minute match over his career. This goes to show just how deadly he is from the first whistle through to the last, and as a defender you can not switch off at any point in the game. Although he has proven that he can score at any given moment, he appears to thrive in the clutch period of games, as he has scored over 20 goals in the 90th minute. Few players are able to match his ability to score at the end of games, and it is just one reason why he is considered one of the all-time greats.
2. He Has a Buyout Clause of €1 Billion
Due to his incredible talent, Ronaldo is often rumored to be the target of staggering bids from other giant teams around the world. The Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, has made it clear that he has no intention of selling the superstar for anything less than his buyout clause, however, which is a jaw dropping €1 billion. This should serve as a warning to other teams that he is not for sale, but there is still interest from PSG and Man United (his former club). Ronaldo joined Los Blancos from Man United in 2009 for a then-world record fee of €94 million, and there are now rumors circulating that Ronaldo is keen to return to Old Trafford next season, with United lining up a mammoth €125 million bid. If this is true, it will be intriguing to see what unfolds between Perez, Real Madrid, Man United and Ronaldo.
1. A Friend Set Him on His Path to Fame and Success
How Cristiano was set on the path to becoming one of the greatest soccer players of all time is a brilliant story of friendship. Sporting Lisbon visited his youth club and stated that whoever scored the most goals would get a place in their academy. Ronaldo and his friend, Albert Fantrau, were on the same team and both scored to put their team up 2-0, and for the third and final goal, Albert took it round the keeper but selflessly passed to Ronaldo for a tap in. When asked why, he replied “because you are better than me.” A journalist recently visited Albert to follow the story up, and discovered that he lives a luxurious lifestyle in a stunning home with his family, despite the fact he is unemployed. It was all paid for by Ronaldo, who never forgot and remains great friends with Albert to this day.