There's nothing short of amazing in the way Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo climbed his way into worldwide fame. His name is already inscribed in the annals of history and some consider him the greatest footballer of all times. A three-time Ballon d'Or winner, the Real-Madrid attacking midfielder is news everywhere he goes and with everything he does. Why? He's got the talent, the looks, and the charisma.
His empire is now built around a lot of other things - he's a marketing darling, having signed high profile sponsorship contracts with the likes of Nike at a very young age. In fact, he won his first Ballon d'Or when he was just 23 and represented the colours of Manchester United, the club that made him famous.
Cristiano Ronaldo Aveiro, born in 1985, was a poor kid in the outskirts of Madeira Island with a passion for football. He played all day long and soon attracted local clubs' interest; when he was 11, Ronaldo travelled alone to mainland Portugal to enrol in Sporting Clube de Portugal, one of the three big football clubs in the country. That's when the adventure started: he was tenacious, ambitious, endured other kids teasing him and trained every second he could, often alone and after hours. His debut in the senior team happened in August 2002, when he was only 17, in a Champions League pre qualifying match against F.C. Internazionale Milano (Inter Milan). Laszlo Bölöni was the coach who saw how promising the young player was; only one year later, after a friendly match with Manchester United, the English club paid a little over £12 million for the player. Sir Alex Ferguson marvelled at the now famous number 7, and so did the football world. He became world famous really fast, drawing some comparisons to David Beckham in how he made his way into fashion, branding, and gossip-worth celebrity. A male fan recently tattooed Ronaldo's face on his thigh.
After six years in ManU and a Ballon d'Or, Ronaldo made history again - he became the most expensive transfer in the history of football, when Real Madrid paid £80 million for the player. Rumours have abounded about a possible return to the Premier League, but his contract with the Spanish club ends in 2018 and he plans to end is career in none other than the American Major League Soccer. That's exactly how David Beckham ended his career too, in L.A. Galaxy.
Aside from his many awards (including three European Golden Shoe awards) and victories, being the captain of Portugal's National Team and having completed over 400 games as a senior, Cristiano Ronaldo has become an inspiration and a hero of sorts. His love life has also captured the attention of the world, from his explosive relationship with Spanish Nereida Gallardo to a very long relationship with Irina Shayk, whom he parted with in the beginning of 2015. He also has a son from an unknown mother. If that seems odd in Cristiano Ronaldo's universe, you haven't been paying attention.