World Cup·Profile

Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal on his shoulders

Love him or hate him, there’s no disputing the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the top footballers in the world.

Portugal's fortunes will follow CR7

Any soccer fan will tell you that the sky’s the limit when you have the best player in the world on your side. (Pedro Nunes/AFP/Getty Images)

Love him or hate him, there’s no disputing the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the top footballers in the world. 

Why he's so special

Larger-than-life footballing skills with a personality to match, Ronaldo has become a world icon. When he’s at his best, he has the ability to change matches on his own. Sweden found that out the hard way in the qualifying playoff. 

Cristiano Ronaldo

Born: Feb. 5, 1985
Club: Real Madrid
Nickname: CR7

Famous moment

Ronaldo and Real Madrid completed “La Decima” on May 24, winning their 10th Champions League title in dramatic fashion. Ronaldo scored the fourth and final goal from the penalty spot, extending his Champions League record with 17 goals in the competition. It’ll go nicely with his recently won FIFA player of the year award. 

He said it

“I am not a perfectionist, but I like to feel that things are done well. More important than that, I feel an endless need to learn, to improve, to evolve, not only to please the coach and the fans, but also to feel satisfied with myself.”

What they're saying about him

“He believes he can do anything with the ball, and that confidence makes him very special indeed.” —​ Eusebio, Portuguese footballing legend 


  • Tall, strong, fast, with a powerful shot. He can score on the run, from set-plays, via header, and in close. And he’s the best dribbler in the world, bar none. 


  • His defending leaves a lot to be desired, and he still goes to ground far too easily. Favours the spectacular move over the simple play, even when the latter is best. 

Fun Fact

Ronaldo’s father named him after former American President Ronald Reagan.


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