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Born February 5, 1985, winger Cristiano Ronaldo of the English Premier League club Manchester United signed a $21.24 million contract in 2003 at the age of 18. In that year he was given his first cap while he played for the Portuguese. Cristiano went to the final of the UEFA Euro in 2004, where he delighted his fans when he scored the first international goal of his career.

Ronaldo was on the global rise scoring often at both club and international levels and received his first Premier League title in the 2006-07 season. As the Premier League’s top scorer, Ronaldo was named the FIFPro World Player of the Year in 2008. Also in 2008, Ronaldo achieved the Ballon d’Or award-quite the achievement for such a young soccer player.

Jose Dinis Averio and Maria Dolores dos Santos Averio and Jose Dinis Averio gave the third of their four children the middle name “Ronaldo” after then-United States President Ronald Regan–who was Jose’s favorite movie actor.

Christiano Ronaldo was only eight years old when he began playing for for the amateur team C.F. Andorinha. In 1995, Cristiano signed with local football club CD Nacional. His success was so great that the Sporting CP club gave him a contract after a three-day trial run for a never-disclosed signing bonus. At the Sporting CP facility in Portugal, Ronaldo trained at the footballer’s academy the Alcochete. Eventually, he became the only footballer ever to play for Sporting’s U-16, U-17, U-18, and B-teams. Manchester United was pleading with Sir Alex Ferguson to sign this young phenom and so, in 2003, recognizing his immense talent, Ferguson did just that, and created a fan favorite.

With a team behind him, Cristiano, was the very first Portuguese player to sign with an English team and he requested number 23, not wanting the number 7 tied to such players as Eric Cantona or David Beckham, among others; there was sense in Cristiano to be his own player and that he was. His team debut was a 60th-minute substitute winning 4.0 over the Bolton Wanderers. He scored United’s thousandth Premier League goal in October of 2005 and fans voted him to enter his first FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year awards in that same year.

In 2006, Ronaldo attained consecutive Barclays Player of the Month awards, only the third player in history to do this since Dennis Bergkamp in 1997 and Robbie Fowler in 1996. Cristiano’s 50th career goal with Manchester United came against rivals Manchester City F.C. when they claimed their first Premier League title in just four years. Again, Ronaldo was voted the FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year Award and thought it looked like he might switch forces to play with the Real Madrids, he signed with United in April of 2006 for a cool $31 million a year-he became the highest player in United’s history.

The prestigious PFA Players’ Player of the Year, the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year, and the PFA Young Player of the Year awards were taken by Cristiano for the 2006-2007 season. However, Ronaldo has been known to rave up with some antics, and these got him banned for three matches during the 2007-08 season. But, he was allowed to play again after he discussed with his coach no longer letting opposing team players get his ire up. He still wound up scoring a record-setting 35 goals for the season; George Best had 32 in 1967-1968. Ronaldo was made team captain in March of 2008.

After Cristiano looked like he might head to the Real Madrid team, he stayed with United for another year. As he was scoring his 100th and 101st goals in November during United’s 5-0 win against Stroke City, Ronaldo seemed destined for a greatness that most footballers dare not even dream of. Ronaldo capped his season by being awarded the first Manchester United Ballon d’Or award since it was given to George Best in 1968. The incredible Cristiano Ronaldo ended the season with 446 points. The 2008-09 season should se Cristiano wowing his fans all over the planet even more.

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