Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, OIH, (born 5 February 1985), commonly known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese footballer who plays as a winger or striker for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and is the captain of the Portuguese national team. Ronaldo became the most expensive player in football history after moving from Manchester United to Real Madrid in a transfer deal worth £80 million (€94 million). In addition, his contract with Real Madrid, in which he is paid €12 million per year, makes him one of the highest-paid football player in the world, and his buyout clause is valued at €1000 million (€1 billion, in English usage), as per his contract.

Ronaldo began his career as a youth player for Clube de Futebol Andorinha de Santo António, where he played for two years, before moving to Clube Desportivo Nacional. In 1997, he made a move to Portuguese giants Sporting Clube de Portugal. Ronaldo's precocious talent caught the attention of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who signed the 18-year-old for £12.24 million (€15 million) in 2003. The following season, Ronaldo won his first club honour, the FA Cup and played at Euro 2004 with Portugal. Ronaldo scored his first international goal in the opening game of the tournament against Greece and also helped Portugal reach the final. He was featured in the UEFA Euro All-Star Team of this competition.

Ronaldo was the first player to win all four main PFA and FWA awards, doing so in 2007. He was third in the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year award and second in the 2007 Ballon d'Or award. In 2008, Ronaldo won the Champions League with United, was named best forward and player of the tournament and was the competition's top goalscorer as well as winning the European Golden Shoe, becoming the first winger to do so, and topping the Premier League Golden Boot award. He won three of the four main PFA and FWA trophies, only missing the PFA Young Player of the Year, and was named the FIFPro, World Soccer, Onze d'Or, and the FIFA World Player of the Year, in addition to becoming Manchester United's first Ballon d'Or winner in 40 years. Ronaldo holds the distinction of being the first player to win the FIFA Puskás Award, in 2009, an honour handed by FIFA to the best goal of the year. He scored that goal from 40 yards out against F.C. Porto in a UEFA Champions League quarter-final match, while playing for Manchester United. Three-time Ballon d'Or winner Johan Cruyff said in an interview on 2 April 2008, "Ronaldo is better than George Best and Denis Law, who were two brilliant and great players in the history of United.". He was second in the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year award and also second in the 2009 Ballon d'Or award.

Ronaldo became the highest goalscorer in a season in the history of Real Madrid with 53 goals, surpassing the club's previous high of 49 by Ferenc Puskás. Six days later, Ronaldo broke the record of most goals ever scored in a season in La Liga with 40, surpassing Telmo Zarra's mark established in 1951 (38 goals) and Hugo Sánchez's mark established in 1990 (38 goals). Ronaldo also broke Zarra's record of most goals per minute, with a goal scored every 70.7 minutes. The newspaper Marca, the official deliverer of the Pichichi Trophy (the top La Liga goalscorer award), claimed that Ronaldo scored 41 goals (Marca assigned one more goal to Ronaldo than La Liga, which attributed it to Pepe). By doing so, he won the European Golden Shoe award once again, becoming the first player to win the trophy in two different championships. He was third in the 2010-11 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, behind Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernández, and second in the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or, behind Lionel Messi and ahead of Xavi Hernández.

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