Cristiano Ronaldo: The Man Behind The Name

Yoosof Farah@@YoosofFarahSenior Writer IIIJune 5, 2009

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 12: Pele applauds as Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal wins The FIFA World Player Of The Year 2008, at the Zurich Opera House on January 12, 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)

There is no doubt about it—Cristiano Ronaldo is a worldwide phenomenon.

Millions around the world love him. Manchester United fans, Sporting Lisbon fans, football fans, sports fans in general, the Portuguese public—and of course, girls everywhere—idolise this man.

But there are also millions who hate him. His diving in matches, feigning of injury, general on-pitch antics, and perhaps jealousy of his good looks and how successful he's been just for playing football, have at times made this man become public enemy No.1.

Like he says in the introduction of his autobiography Moments, "I know [the name Cristiano Ronaldo] means a lot to those who love football. They know me very well... they know how I play, how I dribble. They understand my style.

"But there is a lot about me that nobody knows."

The name Cristiano Ronaldo generates 16,200,000 search results on Google, with many articles being published about him, his career, his girlfriends, his "party lifestyle", etc, etc.

But as the Portuguese superstar states, there are not many who know the true Cristiano Ronaldo.

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There has been an unprecedented amount of speculation concerning Ronaldo's career and his potential moves to Real Madrid.

Many question his loyalty to Manchester United, saying that he does not really care about the English champions and is only interested in himself.

In the third paragraph of the introduction page however, he says: "I intend to dedicate a large part of [Moments] to the Manchester United victories, to the club that really made me famous.

"I will never forget United, for its strength, for the pleasure I have in wearing their shirt."

Many around the world claim to know what Cristiano Ronaldo is all about, but I don't feel that is really possible until they have read his autobiography, Moments, which contrary to what some people say, does provide a realistic insight into the life of the Portuguese maestro.

So, to tell you a little bit about the life of the man everyone talks about, here is Cristiano Ronaldo on...


"Football is my life, my great passion, my pleasure."

In the title of the chapter about football, Ronaldo calls the sport "God's Blessing", and says he cannot imagine his life without "training, the pitch, the match, the enthusiasm, or the thrill of the competition."

I've read many articles on this man, and some have questioned the United winger's desire to play football. If the above isn't enough, he goes on to say: "I thank God for the ability to pursue the activity I love."

Almost being bullied out of the sport

"It was the period of my life when I considered giving everything up."

Ronaldo left his family and friends from his native island of Madiera behind to join the Sporting Lisbon academy when he was 12 years old.

He stayed in Sporting's boarding house, and lived with kids of all different ages in the Sporting youth academy.

The title of this section in his book is: "Living in the boarding house and the desire to give up."

He says that the time spent in Sporting's academy "were difficult moments, mainly for missing my family, but also because my accent had been for a long time a target for mockery."

As many Portuguese will know, the accents from islands such as Madiera can be hard for people on the Portugal mainland to understand.

Ronaldo was educated at the Sporting Lisbon school, and he recalls of time in class where "kids at the back of the room starting laughing and making fun of my accent."

Apart from the mockery of his accent, the other issue that faced Ronaldo at the time was his family.

As anyone who has left their family or loved ones for a long time will know, it can be quite an upsetting experience being away from the people you love for a very long period of time. 

And this was no different for the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year, who went on to say: "As soon as I heard the voices of my relatives I began to miss them more. I cried almost everyday. I never felt so homesick.

"And that was why I wanted to give up this opportunity. That situation haunted me with terrible frequency."

Sporting Lisbon

"Sporting's first-team coach Lazslo Boloni will always be my first point of reference, because he was the one to launch me into professional football."

The name Cristiano Ronaldo only became known to Portuguese football followers in the 2002/03 season, where the teenage sensation from the youth team made a big impact in the Portuguese Liga.

His time at the club can best be described when he says: "It was in my second season with Sporting's first-team that I felt more confident and integrated.

"I passed from anonymity to be in the newspaper headlines, which were already suggesting names of clubs interested in me."

Throughout his professional Sporting Lisbon career, Ronaldo made a massive impact on the team. Even on his debut, he made such an impact that his mother fell ill.

And the ex-Sporting star said this was caused by "the emotion, the pride of seeing her son fulfilling himself both professionally and personally." He scored twice, his first ever professional goals in football.

Manchester United

"I was dreaming. At the age of 17 I had my professional debut at Sporting and by the age of 18, I was transferred to Manchester United. Impossible?"

Many already know about the Manchester United career of Cristiano Ronaldo, so there is no point in going over that. Instead, I will tell you the thoughts he had about joining United.

When Ronaldo first signed for Manchester United, he recalls: "I was very nervous, not about being a football player at that magnificent club, but because my English was very poor."

Once he had signed for United, Ronaldo was convinced he would be heading back on loan to Sporting for a season, which would give him enough time to learn English and ensure than when he came back, "everything would be stabalised."

But being the manager he is, Sir Alex Ferguson had other ideas, saying to Ronaldo: "We are interested in you, but for this year, you are going to stay," which left the Portuguese "surprised and a little worried", as he had not even had time to take some spare clothes with him upon signing for United.

After enduring a tough time at Sporting in the academy, life seemed to change dramatically for Ronaldo upon arrival in Manchester.

"I was more mature. I was calmer, I believed in myself. I had definitely overcome my lack of confidence and my fear of failing", he recalls.

For any football player, it surely must be a dream to play at Old Trafford, dubbed by Manchester United the Theatre of Dreams.

Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo is lucky enough to play there for 25+ games a season, and on the home of United, he said: "Old Trafford is magnificent. I had never before seen anything so impressive.

"With over 75,000 fervent supporters, there is an atmosphere both chilling and thrilling."

His coaches

"With Scolari I was always learning. He is very special to me. I cannot stop repeating this, and I do not mean to "butter him up" as you might say."

Excluding at youth level, Cristiano Ronaldo (at the time of his book) had only ever played under three coaches; Laszlo Boloni at Sporting Lisbon, Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, and Luiz Felipe Scolari in the Portuguese national team.

On his first coach Boloni, Ronaldo admits that he was not as close to him as the other two, saying: "I cannot say I have the same close relationship with him that I have with Alex Ferguson or with Scolari; he is less expansive."

However, it is a different story with Luiz Felipe Scolari. The Brazilian was the first to launch Ronaldo's international career, and "for this reason alone I would consider him a very special person.

"But Scolari did much more than that. I will never forget the talk we had when my father died. I was deeply touched by it.

"I understood that he had lived an identical experience when his father had died and we both cried."

And a few paragraphs later when Ronaldo talks about the Red Devils' supremo, he says: "Sir Alex Ferguson is also a very caring coach, and he and I have a relationship that goes far beyond what is usual for a football player and the coach. He is incredible.

"In fact, I can even say that I signed for Manchester United because of him, and that it is in part due to him that I am still with the club and in England."

Jorge Mendes

"He is a friend who helps me make long-term decisions in life. He will always have a special place in my heart for all he means to me."

The title of this little page in the book is "My friend and managing agent, Jorge Mendes."

Jorge Mendes is Cristiano Ronaldo's agent, and has been since Ronaldo was 17. And Ronaldo "instantly recognised what kind of person I had in front of me [when I first met him].

"His only goal was to support me and help me to evolve in my career. Above all, in no time I understood that he was a good man and a friend for life, so I put all my trust in him."

Following Ronaldo's on-pitch drama with Wayne Rooney in the England-Portugal match at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, there was a lot of talk about Ronaldo leaving Manchester United.

Ronaldo publicly said he wanted to leave the club, but apparently it was his agent Jorge Mendes who told him to stay more than anyone.

In his book, Ronaldo says that almost everyday in the summer after the World Cup Jorge Mendes would say him, "Do things calmly. Do not rush. Manchester [United] is the right club for you.

"Stay at United and then you will see if I am right or not."

The Manchester United star ends the page by saying: "It was undoubtedly the right decision. And now we have the confirmation."

And here are a few things about Cristiano Ronaldo in his autobiography Moments, outside of football, that you might not have known about:

  • A Dutch woman once camped on Ronaldo's doorstep, saying that Ronaldo had "looked at her in a special way" and she came to England with no money and was saving herself for him.
  • Ronaldo reserves one day per week "to take care of correspondence, which arrives from all over the world."
  • Ronaldo is an international ambassador for the Seven New Wonders of the World.
  • Having worn the number on his shirt at Manchester United, Ronaldo is obsessed with the number seven, and has had built for him a large house in his native Portuguese island of Madiera, with seven rooms and with a swimming pool in the shape of the number seven.
  • Ronaldo's sister Cátia is a singer, with her stage name being "Ronalda", and her brother Cristiano has promised to sing in "one or two songs when she releases her third album."
  • Ronaldo's favourite song is World, Hold Onby Bob Sinclair, which became the Portugal team's "unofficial anthem" during the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
  • According to Ronaldo, him, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra are the jokers in the Manchester United dressing room; they are "the gang of jokers."
  • Ronaldo has a grandfather in Australia, and would one day like to visit him.
  • Ronaldo excelled at Table Tennis in his youth at Sporting Lisbon, and was offered by the Table Tennis coach if he wanted to turn professional at the sport, to which he answered "in one breath, no thanks."

Millions around the world claim to know who Cristiano Ronaldo is.

He is very often in the headlines; the top story when it comes to football, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Many know what he says about his future at United, and that he likes Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, AC Milan, and would one day even like to play in the MLS.

Whether you love him or you hate him, you cannot escape the media coverage and excessive articles written about the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year.

Whether you love him or you hate him, I hope you've enjoyed this article, and after reading it know a bit more about the worldwide phenomenon that is, Cristiano Ronaldo.

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