“Many people look at me and think they know me but they don’t at all. This is the real me. I am a humble person, a feeling person. A person who cares about others, who wants to help others.”—Cristiano Ronaldo
Though the debates will likely rage on for decades, let’s just say that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers in the world and one of the greatest of all time. Though he started his career with Manchester United in the English Premier League, he truly made his name with Real Madrid, a team whose dominance over his time there is essentially unparalleled. Ronaldo seemingly has it all: the looks, the accolades, the respect, and above all the skill that has stamped him in the history books. Plus, there’s that pretty amazing sculpture of him. Read on for 43 facts about this Portuguese phenom.
Cristiano Ronaldo Facts
42. Rags to Riches
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro grew up on the small island of Madeira, Portugal, and his family didn’t have a lot of money when he was growing up. He has two sisters and one brother, and they all had to sleep in the same bedroom. Becoming a professional soccer player seemed like one of the only ways to completely get out of poverty, which is why his parents completely supported his talent, and let’s just say it worked out for them.
Ronaldo says that he started washing and ironing his own clothes at 11 years old. He was also taught how to cook and take care of himself for pretty much all of his basic needs, instead of relying on his parents. He credits his parents forcing him to learn these responsibilities at a young age as part of why he has always felt like a strong, capable adult.
When Ronaldo was 12, his entire family moved 600 miles away Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. They wanted him to play for some of the national junior teams, which were located there. While they were Portuguese, their home of Madeira is actually is closer to Africa than the mainland of their own country, so they had their own unique accents and customs, making the move quite the culture shock.
39. Careless Whisper
Ronaldo admits that when he’s trying to set a romantic mood, he’ll put on a little Phil Collins, or maybe some George Michael. Let’s be real here Cristiano, I don’t really think you need the help.
According to Forbes magazine, Ronaldo made an estimated $93 million in 2017 alone, both through his contract with Real Madrid and his many lucrative sponsorships. In total, it’s estimated that he’s worth more than $400 million.
Studies have been done on Ronaldo’s near unparalleled speed, and it turns out that when he jumps he actually movies five times faster than a cheetah. He is also far better at jumping than the average NBA player, which means he would probably be good at basketball, if he tried. Now there’s something I’d like to see.
36. The Flash
Ronaldo has loved to run ever since he was a young boy. In elementary school, he would always get excited to help his classmates warm up during gym class. As he got older and began playing soccer, he would put weights on his feet and continue running for training. The theory was that once he took them off, he would be able to run much faster, and he ended up being right! Good thing too, because during any given soccer season he sprints 900 times more than Olympic sprinters do during training.
When he was a kid, his favorite soccer star was Luis Figo, who was considered to be the greatest Portuguese footballer ever before Ronaldo came around.
34. First Paid Gig
When he was just 13 years old, Ronaldo was paid 1,500 Euros to join Sporting CP, a boy’s team based in Lisbon. When I was thirteen, I think I once got five dollars for mowing my parents’ lawn.
33. A True Friend
One of the most iconic stories about Ronaldo involves him and a friend named Albert Fantrau. Allegedly, a young Ronaldo played on a team with his best friend, Fantrau. A coach told the boys that whoever got the most goals in a particular game would win a scholarship to attend a soccer academy in Lisbon, a potentially life-changing opportunity. Fantrau and Ronaldo were both neck-and-neck, and at one point the former had the chance to score and go to Lisbon, but he passed the ball to Ronaldo instead. Fantrau is said to have explained that he did it because he knew that Ronaldo was a better player than him, and the one who was destined to become a professional. Apparently, Ronaldo never forgot Fantrau’s sacrifice. Once he started making money, Fantrau grew up, and couldn’t find a job. Ronaldo bought him a house, a car, and gave him money to live on as a “thank you.” This story is often cited by Ronaldo fans as proof of his amazing character, but it has recently come to light that many parts of the tale don’t quite add up. Sadly, this one is likely no more than a story. We can dream though…
32. Haters Gonna Hate
In response to his haters, he says that people dislike him because he is too “rich, handsome, and talented.” That’s just so arrogant and so frustratingly true that I don’t quite know what to say, though I do want to draw attention back to the quote at the top where he said “I am a humble person…”
31. Overnight Success
In 2003, Manchester United paid Ronaldo 12 million pounds to join their team when he still a teenager. He was the first Portuguese player to ever join the Manchester FC.
30. Lucky Number
When Ronaldo first went to United, they gave him the jersey number seven. This was some huge pressure, because only huge stars like David Beckham had worn that number for the Manchester squad before. But as we all know, Ronaldo would eventually go on to prove himself extremely worthy of the honor.
29. Showing Off
Perhaps part of what makes Ronaldo so popular is that he’s considered to be a very flashy player, going out of his way to do scissor kicks, flips, and anything that will make the game more exciting. Hey, if he gets the job done, he’s free to do whatever he wants!
Let’s be real: Ronaldo is rich, athletic, famous, and good-looking—he obviously attracts some attention from the ladies. Though he has tended to be extremely private about his love-life, so not much is known for sure, it’s been rumored that both Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are on his (probably quite long) list of exes.
27. He’s Got Style
Don’t think that soccer is the only thing that Ronaldo’s got going on—he also owns a fashion boutique called CR7 in Portugal, which is run by his sisters. On the boutique’s website, the man himself models all of the clothes—a sure fire way to ensure your company’s success. His biggest collection is men’s shoes, and they truly are very stylish.
26. Funding Education
Ronaldo has won two European Golden Shoe Awards (formerly known as the Golden boot) in his career, presented to the player who scores the most goals in league matches across of all of Europe’s top leagues. In 2012, he sold one of the awards for 1.5 million euros and gave the money to help fund schools in Gaza.
25. Save the Kids
Just in case you needed more reasons to like this soccer icon, Ronaldo is very involved in an organization called FIFA 11 For Health, which helps children with medical conditions that don’t have access to proper care.
24. Bleeding Heart
Ronaldo personally flew to Indonesia to help the victims of the devastating 2004 tsunami after a photo circulated of a young Indonesian survivor wearing his jersey. He auctioned off much of his own sporting equipment to raise one billion rupiah for the victims, or a little over $75,000 USD. When interviewed about his involvement in so many charities, he replied, “I’m not going to change the world. You’re not going to change the world. But we can help—we can all help.”
Ronaldo has his own YouTube Channel, where he posts mostly copies of his snapchat stories. His videos usually consist of his workout routines, as well as commercials for products from his own companies and other sponsored deals. Doesn’t sound like the most riveting video content, but hey, if you’re Cristiano Ronaldo you can do what you want.
22. Talk of the Town
There’s a whole museum that’s solely dedicated to Cristiano Ronaldo back in his hometown of Funchal, Madeira; it’s called the Museu CR7.
21. The Whole Story
If you’re looking to know absolutely as much as possible about Ronaldo, his autobiography, titled Moments, was published in 2007, and while we hate to admit it, it might just have more than 42 facts about the soccer star.
20. Amateur Chef
One of his favorite hobbies is cooking. Though so much of his life is spent traveling, one of the first things he does when he finally gets a moment of rest at his house is make a home cooked meal.
19. The Fast Lane
An athlete as big as Ronaldo makes some serious cash, and so of course he’s owned his fair share of luxury sports cars. His collection includes 19 cars that are worth around $19 million. The cheapest car he owns is a Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI. The most expensive? None other than the Bugatti Veyron, of course.
18. Frozen in Time
In 2010, a wax figure was made of Ronaldo Ronaldo at the Madame Tussauds museum in London. And unlike most wax sculptures, it’s not the creepiest recreation of him that exists! That honor, as we all know, goes to the infamous bust of him that accompanied the rebranding of Funchal’s airport to the Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport. Thankfully, in 2018 the website Bleacher Report commissioned the sculptor of the less-than-spitting-image bust to take a second crack at it, and the new sculpture turned out far better, though it still has its critics.
17. Country Life
While he was living in England, Ronaldo chose to buy a house in the countryside in Alderley Edge, Cheshire County, rather than living in the heart of London.
16. There’s an App For That
With a star as big as Ronaldo’s, he’s going to show up pretty much everywhere—and that includes in your pocket! He’s got his own mobile game called Head’s Up! where you control a little animated Ronaldo.
Ronaldo has won the Ballon D’Or, the annual prize handed out by France Football to the best footballer in the world, a record five times, a feat that is only matched by another active player—and Ronaldo’s perennial rival—Argentina’s Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo has openly called himself “the best player in the world” on multiple occasions, and many people dislike him for this, calling him arrogant. He responded to these critics by saying that it’s fine if some people dislike him, because without this sense of confidence, he believes he would not play as well as he does. Fair enough, Cris.
13. In the Heart of the City
Way before Donald Trump became President, Ronaldo bought a loft in Trump Tower in New York City for a whopping $18.5 million. Apparently, that particular loft is so famous that E.L. James, the author of 50 Shades of Grey, used it as her inspiration for Christian Grey’s apartment. Other fans have noted that their first names are almost the same, but this one probably wasn’t intentional.
Ronaldo has been quoted multiple times saying that he thinks that having kids is one of the most rewarding things anyone can ever do. His first son is named Ronaldo Jr., though the boy’s birth mother is a total mystery. Some people say that she was a waitress he briefly dated, but many different theories exists. Allegedly, Ronaldo paid the birth mother ten million Euros to ensure that he was granted full custody of the boy, who is being raised by Ronaldo’s mother, Dolores, in Madrid. He refuses to tell the press the true story, and wants to wait until his son is old enough to consent to the public knowing what happened.
Ronaldo’s father died when at age 52 due to health complications related to his alcoholism. While Ronaldo tried to pay for his dad to go into rehab multiple times, his pleas fell on deaf ears. As a result, Ronaldo refuses to drink at all, since he’s afraid the condition is hereditary and he doesn’t want to follow in his father’s sad footsteps.
10. Big Bucks
His sponsorship deal with Nike will pay out over $1 billion during the course of the entire contract. That’s a whole lot of zeroes.
There’s an absolutely ludicrous release clause in Ronaldo’s contract with Real Madrid. Any team that wants to try and steal the star away from his Spanish club would need to fork up one billion euros just for the privilege of paying him whatever crazy expensive contract he would sign.
8. The Best of the Best
It’s undeniable that Ronaldo’s greatest rival must be Lionel Messi. Not only does Messi play for Barcelona, Real Madrid’s longtime La Liga rival, the two stars are almost always neck and neck when it comes to year end awards. For instance, since 2011, Ronaldo and Messi have been #1 and #2 for the Best FIFA men’s player award, with Ronaldo winning four times to Messi’s three. They were also the top two in 2008 and 2009, splitting those years, but in 2010 Ronaldo didn’t make the top three. Since Messi won that year, maybe he has an edge? Hard to say, but that’s a conversation for every fan to have over drinks for years to come.
7. Interesting Choice
His middle name, Ronaldo, was inspired by Ronald Reagan, but not because of his days as US President. Rather, Reagan was Ronaldo’s father’s favorite actor.
6. Trial and Error
Even though he got used to his chores at 11 years old, Ronaldo’s mother says that he used to be so disobedient that he used to jump out of the bathroom window just to avoid taking a shower.
5. Under the Knife
At 15 years old, Ronaldo had to undergo heart surgery for a racing heartbeat. If the problem was left unchecked, he would have never been able to be a professional soccer player. Apparently, he had the surgery in the morning, and somehow managed to be released from the hospital that afternoon. He was back practicing soccer again after just a couple days.
4. All Natural
Ronaldo refuses to get any tattoos because he donates blood on a regular basis. Having heart surgery at a young age helped him to realize how important it is for hospitals to receive these donations, and he encourages others to do the same.
3. Babies Two and Three
In 2015, Ronaldo became father to twins via a surrogate mother who was paid to carry his DNA. He clearly shouldn’t need to pay off anyone to carry his babies, and yet he arranged the surrogacy in the United States.
2. Love and Family
In late 2017, Ronaldo and his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez welcomed their first daughter, and the couple plan on raising their baby girl, as well as Ronaldo’s three other children, together.
1. Too Cool for School
When Ronaldo was 14 years old, a teacher at his new school made fun of his accent. It made him so angry, he threw a chair at the man, and it got him expelled from school. Instead of punishing him, Ronaldo’s mother told him that his real talent was in soccer, and that it was fine to not worry so much about school. From that point on, becoming a professional was Ronaldo’s only focus. Boy, sure is a good thing the soccer thing worked out.