Ronaldo, Cristiano

(Dos Santos Aveiro)
    (1985- )
   Portuguese soccer player ranked as one of top professional players in the world. Born in Funchal, Madeira, in 1985, Ronaldo trained from the early age of eight with amateur Youth Clubs. In 2001, he joined one of the top professional futebol clubs of Portugal, Sporting CP, and in 2002, he was signed by the legendary British professional team, Manchester United. His salary was 12.24 million pounds sterling, a world record for a player of his youth. Although he preferred to wear the number "28," his Sporting CP number, his coach insisted that Ronaldo wear the legendary "7," the number of top British players who preceded him on the team, including George Best and David Beckham. Greatly in demand, Ronaldo was approached by Real Madrid, based in Spain, which tried several times in vain, using enormous salary pledges, to lure him from Manchester United. In 2007, Ronaldo was signed to a new contract for an immense sum and became the highest paid pro team player in history.
   Extremely popular but also controversial, this Portuguese player won many awards and scored many goals in many tournaments, all the while accumulating some criticism about rough play and "diving," faking falls in front of umpires to get the other team penalized so that his team could take penalty shots. Some authorities rank Ronaldo as the best soccer player in soccer history, although such a claim is debatable. Still, for Portuguese soccer and for Portugal's place in world soccer, having a player with Ronaldo's talent and accomplishments at such a young age, is a rare phenomenon.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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