Cristiano Ronaldo - The Portuguese Prince
The Real Madrid winger is the most expensive player in the history of the sport
Born: Feb. 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Nickname: Sultan of the Stepover
Position: Winger, forward
Clubs played for: Ronaldo got his start with Portuguese club Sporting CP before moving to Manchester United in 2003 while he was still only 18. It was in England that he shot to global fame and became one of the top players in the world, helping United win three Premiership crowns, the FA Cup and the Champions League. Celebrity and fortune were also achieved — Ronaldo became one of the most recognized athletes on the planet and was named FIFA world player of the year in 2008. After another successful season with United, Spanish side Real Madrid broke the bank in the summer of 2009 when they paid the English champions the equivalent of $126 million Cdn, a new a world transfer free record, that made the Portuguese star the most expensive player in the history of the sport.
International career: Ronaldo earned his first cap for Portugal in a 1-0 victory against Kazakhstan in 2003. He was a key member of the Portuguese team that reached the final of Euro 2004 on home soil, and helped his country reach the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup. He also played for Portugal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and Euro 2008. One day after his 22nd birthday, Ronaldo captained Portugal for the first time in a friendly against Brazil on Feb. 6, 2007.
Why is he so special? Style and flair are Ronaldo's defining traits on the field. His graceful showmanship, movie-star looks and effortless mastery of the game have endeared him to a diverse group of fans. With his blinding speed, amazing control and dribbling skills, Ronaldo is a threat to score every time he has the ball at his feet.
His most famous moment: On March 19, 2008, Ronaldo captained Manchester United for the first time and broke George Best's club record for most goals (33) in a single season by a midfielder.
He said it: "It gives me the happiest feeling in the world. I just love scoring. It doesn't matter if it's a simple goal from close range, a long shot or a dribble around several players, I just love to score all goals."
What they're saying about him: "Ronaldo is better than George Best and Denis Law, who were two brilliant and great players in the history of United." - Johan Cruyff, Dutch soccer legend
Here's an interesting fact: Ronaldo has been romantically linked with several high-profile celebrities during his career, including British actress Gemma Atkinson.