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Cristiano Ronaldo

Category: Soccer
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Biography:

Sports Speaker Cristiano Ronaldo, forward for Real Madrid, is one of the best footballers in history, and is currently the highest-paid soccer players in the world.  Ronaldo began his career as a youth player for the amateur team Andorinha, then the local club Nacional in Portugal.  He was quickly asked to join one of the biggest clubs in Portugal, Sporting Clube de Portugal where he began his professional career.  In his leagues debut in 2002, he scored 2 goals, helping Sporting CP win 3-0 against Moreirense. However, Ronaldo faced an obstacle at the age of 15 as he was diagnosed with a racing heart, a condition that would force many athletes to quit their sport. Ronaldo chose to undergo surgery for the condition, and was back on the field in a matter of days. Later, in the summer of 2003, he caught the eyes of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson when he put up an impressive performance with Sporting CP in a game against United, defeating them 3-1.  Ronaldo went on to sign with Manchester, becoming their first-ever Portuguese player. Ronaldo made his team debut with Manchester in a 4-0 home victory over Bolton Wanderers, and he scored his first goal just a few months later with a free kick in a 3-0 win over Portsmouth. 2006-2007 was a breakout year for Ronaldo, breaking the 20-goal barrier for the first time and picking up his first league title with Manchester. In 2007, Ronaldo finished as the runner-up to Kaká for the Ballon d’Or and was third in running for the FIFA World Player of the Year award behind Kaká and Lionel Messi. In March 2008, Ronaldo captained United for the first time in his career, and in May, lead Manchester to win the 2007-2008 Champions League Final. He was named UEFA fans’ Man of the Match and ended the season with career-high 42 goals, just four short of Denis Law’s team-record of 46. 2008 also marked Ronaldo’s first time winning the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or. Continuing his success, in 2009, he earned the accolade of FIFA World Player of the Year, as well as the FIFA Puskás Award for his 40-yard game-wining goal against Porto. In June of 2009, Manchester United accepted an offer of £80 million from Real Madrid, a team Ronaldo had expressed interest in switching to earlier that year, making him the most expensive footballer in the history of the sport. Ronaldo went on the make a massive impact for Real Madrid, breaking several club records, and scoring 53 league goals with teammate Gonzalo Higuaín becoming Real’s highest scoring league duo in their history.

As if the success on the soccer field wasn’t enough, this motivational speaker has been involved in many philanthropic activities.  After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, he visited Indonesia to raise funds for rehabilitation and reconstruction. In 2009 he donated £100,000 to the hospital that saved his mother’s life while she was battling cancer so that they could build a cancer center in his native island of Madeira. In 2012, Ronaldo and his agent paid for specialist treatment for a young nine-year old Canarian boy with terminal cancer. In November, he sold the golden boot he had won in 2011 for 1.5 million euros and gave the money to fund schools for children in Gaza.  In January 2013, he became Save the Children’s new Global Artist Ambassador in which he promotes the fight against child hunger and obesity. He has also released an autobiography entitled Moments, and according to Forbes had the fifth highest social rank in the world in 2012, the highest of any athlete on the list.