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  • This year's European Championship is Ronaldo's last
  • He grew up modestly, but from an early age he showed an impressive talent
  • Football stars set records and amass fortunes that take your breath away
  • Football star focuses on his family
Famous Ronaldo
C. Ronaldo is titled one of the greatest players in the world. ELTA

This year's European Championship is Ronaldo's last

Portugal beat Slovenia 3-0 after 11 penalty kicks on Monday in the 2024 European Football Championship play-offs.

One of the tournament stars, 39-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, did not have a good match. His shots were inaccurate, and he failed to convert an 11-meter penalty.

Nevertheless, the match ended well for the Portuguese team. Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa shined in the penalty shootout, deflecting all three of his opponents' shots. Three Portuguese successfully converted their penalties. The Portuguese will face France in the quarter-finals, led by Kylian Mbappe.

Portugal will be hoping for nothing less than victory and will try to send off their star player, Ronaldo, on a high note. After all, the footballer has already declared that this championship in Germany will be the last of his career.

On this occasion, let's take a look back at Ronaldo's impressive career: from his exceptional talent at an early age, to his record-breaking achievements, to the twists and turns of his personal life, to his enormous wealth[1].

Ronaldo is from Madeira. Rui Amaro/Unsplash
Ronaldo is from Madeira. Rui Amaro/Unsplash

He grew up modestly, but from an early age he showed an impressive talent

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born on 5 February 1985 on the Portuguese island of Madeira. He was the fourth child of Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, a cook and cleaner, and Jose Dinis Aveiro, a gardener[2].

Ronaldo was named after US President Ronald Reagan, of whom his father was a fan.

Mr Ronaldo has one older brother, Hugo, and two older sisters, Elma and Liliana Catia. With a very modest family life, a father who abused alcohol and a mother who worked hard and could not devote much attention or resources to her children, Ronaldo's road to football fame began on the streets of Madeira, where the children were constantly kicking the ball.

He was soon spotted as a great talent and started playing for local club Andorinha before moving to Lisbon at the age of 12 to join Sporting CP, one of Portugal's biggest clubs.

At 14, he thought he could play football semi-professionally, so he agreed with his mother and the Sporting CP coach that he would give up his studies and concentrate on football. As a result, he did not go further than grade 6.

But then he was suddenly diagnosed with tachycardia. This medical condition could have forced him to give up football. The teenager underwent heart surgery in which several heart pathways were cut into one with a laser, thus altering his resting heart rate.

The surgery was successful. A few hours after the procedure, he was discharged from the hospital and resumed training a few days later.

In 2003, after making a lasting impression in a pre-season friendly, Ronaldo attracted the interest of the then Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, who soon signed him. Thus began the young star's career at one of the most prestigious clubs in world football.

Ronaldo has been rewarded for his chance. Between 2007 and 2009, he helped Manchester United win three consecutive Premier League titles. Ronaldo also won his first Ballon d'Or in 2008. In 2009, he moved to Real Madrid for a record sum[3].

In Spain, Ronaldo's brilliance continued. He won two La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies. In 2018, Ronaldo's career took him to Juventus Turin, where he won two Serie A titles and a Supercoppa Italiana with the team. He returned to Manchester United in 2021, and from January 2023, he will play for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia.

Off the pitch, Ronaldo is a generous philanthropist and is involved in a wide range of activities. He has donated to disaster relief, supported children's charities and is an ambassador for Save the Children and World Vision. In 2015, he was named the world's most generous athlete. At the time, he donated £5 million to relief efforts following the earthquake in Nepal, which killed more than 8 000 people.

Interestingly, unlike many footballers, Ronaldo does not have any tattoos. This is because he gives blood regularly and tattoos can complicate the donation process[4].

C. Ronaldo helped Manchester United to get three prizes in the Premier League. Colin Meg/Unsplash
C. Ronaldo helped Manchester United to get three prizes in the Premier League. Colin Meg/Unsplash

Football stars set records and amass fortunes that take your breath away

Ronaldo has broken many records and won many awards during his career, further cementing his status as a football legend.

Ronaldo holds the records for most goals (183) and assists (42) in the Champions League, most appearances (25), most assists (8), most goals in the European Championship (14), most international goals (130) and most appearances in international competitions (208).

According to Forbes magazine, in 2020 he will become the first active athlete in team sports to have a career income of more than USD 1 billion.

In addition, Ronaldo is estimated to have earned a total of $260 million last year, an all-time record for a footballer. This makes him the world's highest-paid sportsman for the fourth time in his career.

This was mainly due to his huge annual salary of USD 200 million at the Al Nassr club in the Saudi Arabian professional league. He is still extremely valuable to sponsors: he has as many as 629 million Instagram followers and has partnered with companies such as Binance, Erakulis, Nike, Herbalife, Clear Haircare and Whoop.

Ronaldo owns at least 8 houses and has a real estate empire worth more than USD 54 million. He boasts a limited edition Bugatti Centodieci collection.

C. Ronaldo is one of the most successful people on social media. Screenshot
C. Ronaldo is one of the most successful people on social media. Screenshot

Football star focuses on his family

As a popular and world-famous footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo has been constantly linked to different women. Although he is currently in a long-term relationship with the model and opinion leader Georgina Rodriguez, he has had various love affairs[5].

In 2010, he was captured by Russian model Irina Shayk. Their love story lasted about five years. Ronaldo has been linked to Brazilian model and reality show personality Andressa Urach, Portuguese actress Rita Pereira, and personalities such as Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton.

However, in recent years, Ronaldo has been a devoted family man who has said that becoming a father and raising his children is his greatest privilege.

At the age of 26, he shocked the world when he unexpectedly announced the birth of his first-born. He then briefly explained that all parental rights had been transferred to him and that the mother would have no contact with the child. This led to various rumours: the media speculated who the mother of the footballer's child really was.

Ronaldo himself has never revealed the identity of the mother of his first-born, and in 2015 he told the media that such moments in life are private and that people should respect this privacy:

"When Cristiano grows up, I will always tell him the truth because he deserves it, because he is my son. But I'm not going to say it just because people want me to say it".

Cristiano Ronaldo Junior, the footballer's firstborn, was born in 2010 and is now a teenager, following in his famous dad's footsteps.

Children of Ronaldo. Screenshot
Children of Ronaldo. Screenshot

In 2017, Cristiano Ronaldo announced that he had given birth to twins after a surrogate pregnancy. After the birth of the twins, the UK media investigated the case and found that the twins were conceived in a laboratory in Los Angeles, and some documents are publicly available. The documents make it clear that this was indeed a surrogate pregnancy, but the mother's name is not visible. The twins, Eva and Mateo, were born in La Mesa, California, near the Mexican border[6].

A few months before the birth of the twins, Ronaldo started dating his current life partner, model Georgina Rodriguez. They met at the Gucci fashion store in Madrid, where Ms Rodriguez was working at the time.

In January 2017, the couple made their first public appearance at the FIFA Best FIFA Footballer Awards, and a few weeks after the twins' birth, in July 2017, Ronaldo announced that he and Georgina were expecting their first child together.

The couple gave birth to a baby girl on 12 November 2017, whom they named Alana Martina. In October 2021, they announced they were expecting twins. However, in April 2022, it was revealed that one of the couple's twins, a boy, had died during childbirth. The couple named the girl Bella Esmeralda.