What is Cristiano Ronaldo's education
Exclusive: Cristiano Ronaldo's tough road to becoming a superstar
Cristiano Ronaldo has come a long way. 2016 European champion with Portugal, Champions League winners with Real Madrid, also took the title of world footballer election after the Ballon d'Or - things couldn't be better for the royal superstar at the moment.
But appearances are deceptive - things did not always go so well in the life of the 31 year old today. The young Cristiano was an unplanned child, altogether the fourth of his family, who lived in poor conditions on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, his full name, was born on February 5, 1985 in Santo Antonio and grew up in one of the most difficult neighborhoods on the island.
From a young age, football played a crucial role in Ronaldo's life. His father Dinis, who died in 2005 as a result of his alcohol addiction, worked as a kit manager for the small club Andorinha and asked the club's then player, Fernao Barros Sousa, to be the godfather of the little CR7. Sousa previously played for Nacional, the island's most successful club.
"I became Cristiano Ronaldo's godfather because I played for Andorinha. There I met his father Dinis and when Cristiano was born he asked me if I wanted to be a godfather when he was baptized," recalls Barros Sousa in an interview with Goal Madeira Island: "On the day of the baptism we played against Ribera Brava, Dinis was there too. As a result, we arrived at the church much too late and the priest didn't want to baptize him at all. Everything was ready, only we came too late . We then had to convince him to baptize Cristiano anyway. A funny story "
Ronaldo later accompanied his father to the football field and when he was old enough he finally ran for the Andorinha youth team. His talent was already evident back then, according to his former teammate Ricardo Santos: "We were eight or nine years old and even then Cristiano was a great player. He was faster than the others, scored many goals and dribbled constantly. When he didn't get the ball he started to cry. Even when he was defeated, he kept crying and never stopped. This is why he was nicknamed the crybaby. "
"Compared to the other children, he played football all the time. While the others were doing their homework, he put his aside and preferred to play with the ball on his foot," said Barros Sousa, describing Ronaldo's favorite pastime.
At that time, Ronaldo played mostly 7 against 7 games with Andorinha and his former teammate remembers a very special duel: "We played in Camara de Lobos and led 3-0, but then Cristiano had to be replaced injured and we also lost 3-4. I don't know exactly how many goals he scored, but he was actually our top scorer in every game. "
With its strong performances on the muddy places in the impoverished part of the island, the little bee, another nickname, attracted attention. It wasn't long before Nacional knocked. The largest club in the region. And as luck would have it, Barros Sousa played a crucial role again.
"I was now responsible for the youth department at Nacional and one of the coaches asked me to look at an interesting player from Andorinha. Only then did I realize that this boy was Ronaldo! I really wanted to bring him to Nacional and spoke to his mother Dolores. She supported me and he actually switched to us. " With this, the godfather also became Ronaldo's greatest discoverer and sporting patron.
The young CR7 quickly developed into the island's greatest talent. "He was still young, but you could tell immediately that he was something very special. People all over the island talked about him," said his youth coach at the time, Pedro Talinhas: "He was fast, technically strong, had a good shot and was very far already. Many things that distinguish him today could already be seen back then. "
At Nacional, the change from small to large field followed. What is a big change for many children, was not a big problem for CR7. On the contrary: he was even able to convince against older opponents with his extraordinary talent. "He was the captain even though he was younger than him and sometimes had to play against guys who were three years older than him. Nevertheless, he was the best player on the field," enthuses Talinhas.
Before Ronaldo, Madeira Island had never produced a Portuguese international - let alone one of the best footballers of all time. That should now change, the youngster was about to take his next big step towards becoming a professional footballer.
Barros Suousa introduced Cristiano to local judge Joao Marques de Freitas, who was on good terms with Sporting: "We met him even though we had never seen him on the pitch before. I called then Sporting scout Aurelio Pereira , and asked him to take a closer look at Cristiano. On the same day I spoke to Cristiano's mother and bought a ticket to Lisbon. "
And indeed: Once again, Ronaldo convinced everyone of his talent. Sporting was enthusiastic and signed the twelve-year-old. Completely alone, he dared to jump into the capital, Lisbon. Initial problems were not long in coming.
"It was very difficult for him to get used to Lisbon. In Madeira people speak with a completely different accent," explains de Freitas: "He had problems at school and was laughed at by his classmates. One day he wanted to give up, decided In the end he decided to stay and fought his way through the difficult time. "
In fact, Ronaldo returned to Funchal once after feeling unhappy in the capital. Once again it was Barros Sousa who gave the sad youngster an important piece of advice: "In his second year at Sporting he made a brief return to the island. He was even sent by Sporting because they didn't want an unlucky player. I told him that "He had to fight. He was the future of the family. I knew he would make it to a professional."
Ronaldo took this advice to heart and found his way around the square in his new home. In one of the best youth academies in Europe, he improved his skills step by step.
The young goalkeeper Christopher Almeida de Pilar went through all youth teams with Ronaldo and describes today's superstar in an interview with Goal as particularly ambitious: "We all wanted to play football and make our parents happy with it. He was different, he wanted to make everyone happy who played him saw playing. His will to win was greater than anyone else's. "
After his training at the academy, he made his debut at the age of 17 in the professional team of the capital city, but he did not play for Sporting for a long time. The youngster impressed so much during a preparatory game between Sporting and Manchester United that the then United coach Sir Alex Ferguson immediately signed him.
De Freitas still remembers that game well: "He put on an amazing show in the first half, Sporting won 3-1. He didn't score, but led the United players by the nose. So much so that Manchester signed him three days later. "
With his move to England, the rise to superstar finally began. Under his foster father Ferguson, Ronaldo won the Premier League three times and was the 2008 Champions League winner. The move to Real Madrid followed in 2009.
Even today, Barros Sousa occasionally watches his godchild: "I go to Madrid every now and then and watch a game. For me it is a great satisfaction to see him play. I like it when he scores goals and wins titles - that makes me incredibly proud. "
In the meantime, Ronaldo has had a museum and a hotel built on Madeira. But where it all started, in the mountains of the city of Andorinha, pictures of a young Cristiano Ronaldo adorn the fences in front of the stadium - a memory of the player who made it to one of the greatest footballers of all time.
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