FIFA Men's World Player of the Year 2012 nominee Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal addresses a news conference before the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2012 Gala at the Kongresshaus in Zurich January 7, 2013.
Cristiano Ronaldo has blossomed from a spindly youngster with a heart problem into one of the game’s greatest ever players. Join us as we review the accomplishments of this world superstar.
Debut with Manchester United, August 16, 2003
Ronaldo became United’s first-ever Portuguese player when he joined from Sporting Clube on a $24m transfer. How different things might have been if the two other teams vying for his services – Arsenal and Barcelona – had been able to seal the deal.
FA Cup final, May 22, 2004
Ronaldo would score the winning goal in Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Millwall in the FA Cup final, leading him to his first piece of silverware with the Red Devils.
Goal vs Porto in Champions League, April 15, 2009
Ronaldo’s forty yard screamer to knock Porto out of the Champions League was one of the highlights of the entire tournament, earning him the first ever Puskas Award for greatest goal of the year.
Winning the Premier League for first time, May 5, 2007
Ronaldo broke the 20-goal barrier with United for the first time this season, leading the Manchester giants to the title for their first honors since the previous season’s League Cup.
Captain of Portugal national team
Ronaldo became the captain of the national team in 2007, four years after he earned his first cap but at the still young age of 22. Carlos Queiroz would hand him the armband for good in 2008 at the European Championships.
FIFA World Player of the Year, 2008
Ronaldo’s 42-goal season with United helped lead the Red Devils to the Premier League title and Champions League glory, and it was apparent that he was the world player of the year. He collected his first Ballon D’Or in 2008.
Winning the Champions League with Manchester United, 2008
Cristiano Ronaldo climbed European heights for the first time by collecting the European Cup in 2008 with Manchester United. Ronaldo led the Red Devils to the trophy as the competition’s leading goalscorer and would go on to be named the Champions League’s best player that season.
Introduction at Real Madrid, July 8, 2010
Interest from Real Madrid soon meant a big money move for Ronaldo from the Spanish giants, taking him for a record $128m transfer fee, making him the most costly football player ever. Ronaldo would instantly invigorate Real, but to would take some time for him to get them past arch-rivals Barcelona…
Game-winning goal vs Barcelona, Copa del Rey final 2011
It wasn’t until 2011 that Ronaldo was able to lead Madrid to glory, taking their first Cup in 18 long years, and finally putting Barcelona to the sword. Ronaldo scored the game winner in a cathartic final that laid the stage for glories to come.
Winning La Liga with Real Madrid, 2012
At long last, Ronaldo would taste La Liga glory when he and Jose Mourinho managed to put Barcelona in the rear view mirror and lift the crown. Real, one of the biggest teams in the world, had finally bested what is arguably the greatest club side ever assembled, over a grueling season.
Champions League scoring records, 2013
Ronaldo broke a pair of goal-scoring records in the Champions League in 2013: the all-time mark for goals in a group stage with nine, and the most UCL goals scored in one calendar year with 15. Through the 2013/14 group stage, Ronaldo has now amassed 59 goals excluding qualifying rounds, third all time behind Raul (71) and Lionel Messi (66)
Second FIFA Ballon d'Or, 2014
The fantastic year Ronaldo enjoyed in 2013 was rewarded with his second career Ballon d'Or. Though he didn't win any trophies with Real Madrid, Ronaldo had arguably the greatest season of his career, scoring 69 goals for club and country, including all four in Portugal's World Cup qualifying playoffs tie against Sweden, sending his country to Brazil.