Cristiano Ronaldo: Local Madeira Boy to Out Of This World

The CR7 galaxy is 13 billion years old. Discovered by the University of Lisbon, the galaxy was named in honour of football’s biggest star, Cristiano Ronaldo.

He’s been touted as one of the greatest of all time, resurrected the Galacticos, and is the single most recognised footballer on the planet. All from a young man from Madeira who had the drive, ambition, and (let’s face it) talent to succeed.

From Amateur to Professional

The Cristiano Ronaldo phenomenon was never written in the stars. He had to work extremely hard for it. In fact to this day players and coaches alike are surprised by his work ethic. Once regarded in the media as somewhat of a natural who didn’t require much fine tuning, that perception has been dispelled by the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and former teammate Tim Howard who have lifted the lid on his intense training routine.

While at Manchester United, Howard recalled, “He would just go out after training and dribble the ball in the rain – doing his step-overs, the ‘Cruyff’ turns, all the things you see on television.”

Of course the bright lights of football’s biggest club came later, but it was the humble town of Funchal, Madeira in which Ronaldo would first dream of becoming a professional footballer.

He was just eight years old when he joined his first senior team, Nacional, and after a successful year in the youth set-up, he transferred to Sporting Lisbon, a club where his wizardry and craft on the ball would be eventually recognised.

After a string of good performances for Lisbon, the national team came calling, and most importantly, so did Sir Alex Ferguson.

Manchester United and His Rise to Stardom

In 2003, following a friendly between the elite of Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon in which Cristiano Ronaldo left the United defenders for dead, Ronaldo was snatched from the clutches of signing for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger and taken to Old Trafford.

During the early years of his time in Manchester, Ronaldo faced plenty of hardships as he adapted to life in a new team in a new country, not least after England were knocked out by his native Portugal in the 2006 World Cup.

However, where some footballers could have crumbled, Ronaldo only used those experiences to prosper and before long he became one of the Premier League’s household names.

With that tag Cristiano was catapulted into the limelight; he became Nike’s star man, and other endorsements were piling up. His name was on every child’s shirt in Manchester and by 2008 he was lifting the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or to add to Premier League and FA Cup titles.

His former Manchester United boss also declared that “Cristiano was the most gifted player I managed. He surpassed all the other great ones I coached at United – and I had many.

“The only ones who could be placed near him would be a couple of the home-produced players, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, because they contributed so prodigiously to Manchester United for two decades.”

 

The Powerhouse he is Today

Today Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer just a footballer. He’s a brand. The biggest brand since David Beckham. Of course on the pitch he’s as dedicated as ever before, but with plenty of business interests, we’re as likely to see him off the pitch as we are on it.

His latest endorsement sees him exchange the green, cloth-like field of the Bernabeu to the green felt of the poker table, teaming up with his namesake and former Real Madrid forward Ronaldo as a PokerStars ambassador.

Upon his signature, which looks like the only signature he’ll be making away from Real Madrid any time soon, the Portuguese international said, “Although football is my world, poker has always been my game. I’m very excited to join the team.”

Ronaldo himself though has created his own brand. Like David Beckham, another famous Manchester United number 7, he has made a foray into the fashion industry with CR7, most notably launching a line of underwear, and moving into a line of high-end shirts and shoes.

The Future Of CR7

Cristiano Ronaldo’s popularity won’t waver for a long time. If he were to move from Real Madrid now, it would break every record in football by some distance. Off the field his status is huge, and to this day is an idol for fans across the globe.

We’re very blessed to live in a world with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The man from humble Portuguese origins has worked himself up to the world’s elite, rubbing shoulders with world leaders and being named in the same breath as the likes of Maradona, Pele, and Johan Cruyff.

There’s a lesson to be learned from him. Yes he has enormous talent, but Ronaldo’s career is no finer example of how working hard can catapult you to the very top, and the worrying thing for his opponents is that CR7 still has many more years left in him. Whether you like him or not, that commitment to hard work is something that you can’t help but admire.

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