Cristiano Ronaldo Changing Lives Day By Day


The jersey of Ronaldo´s current club team, Juventus. 10 January 2020. Photo Courtesy of Ben Cogan.

Ben Cogan, Staff Writer

       Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most popular names in the soccer world. He is known worldwide for his abilities and accomplishments in the soccer community and is considered one of the best of all time. His popularity landed him many sponsorship deals with large brands and companies. He has become popular through the knowledge of his modeling and brand, but it is his charity work and soccer skills that have defined him. Ronaldo ́s success has become known worldwide. If you had asked Ronaldo 27 years ago where he would be today, he would probably have quite the opposite opinion.

       Ronaldo had a troubling home life. He lived in Madeira, Portugal with his family and friends, but it was a troubling place to carry out his dream. He loved the sport of soccer from a very young age. According to Ronaldo in a commentary he wrote in The Players Tribune, he played with his friends on the streets with no goals. They had to stop every time a car passed by but they didn’t care because they were playing the sport they loved. Ronaldo played on the streets every day until one day he was discovered. Ronaldo found his way off the streets and onto the field when the Sporting Lisbon Academy noticed and recruited him.

       Ronaldo was happy to continue playing his sport, but the time was difficult for him. In an article for The Players Tribune, Ronaldo admits, “Football gave me everything, but it also took me far away from home before I was really ready. When I was 11 years old, I moved from the island to the academy at Sporting Lisbon, and it was the most difficult time in my life.” The time was difficult for Ronaldo, but it was his move to Lisbon that was the beginning of his illustrious career.

       Ronaldo has flourished since his move to Lisbon. He has gone on to play for three of the biggest clubs in the world. His career truly kick-started when he moved to England to play for Manchester United. He became one of the biggest prospects in soccer and fulfilled his potential when he won the first of his five Ballon d ́Or awards, alongside numerous Player of the Year awards. During his time in England, Ronaldo won three league titles and secured top goalscorer of the league in 2007. 

       He departed England in 2009 for  Real Madrid in Spain. He moved for 104 million dollars, which was the most expensive transfer of all-time at the time. During his time at Madrid, he won four more Ballon d ́Or awards as well as two league titles and four champion league trophies in a row. It was these awards and his time at Madrid that sparked the friendly rivalry with Lionel Messi that has caused debate throughout the globe. Ronaldo spent nine years at Madrid before moving to Juventus in Italy in the summer of 2018. Ronaldo has won one Supercoppa and is on his way to winning the league for a second consecutive year.

       Ronaldo recently found success with his national team as well. He has qualified for many international tournaments with Portugal, but it was in 2016 that he won his first trophy. He won the UEFA EURO tournament in a game against France. Portugal has only gone upwards since then and they won the UEFA Nations League in 2019. Ronaldo has maintained his scoring form while performing for Portugal. He currently has 99 goals and is only 10 behind the top international goal scorer of all time, Ali Daei.

       Ronaldo’s achievements have defined him in the eyes of soccer fans around the globe, but it is his charity work that is catching the eye of the everyday citizen. Ronaldo does not have a charity organization, however, he carries out his charitable donations nonetheless. Ronaldo has varied in his charity efforts. In 2014 he paid the full price for a brain operation to prevent a 10-month-old baby from having seizures for up to 30 days. According to ESPN, in 2019 he auctioned his 2013 Ballon D´or trophy for $600,000 with all the money going to the Make A Wish foundation. His most recent charitable act is the funding of the construction of a pediatric hospital in Santiago, Chile and he plans on funding more in other South American cities. “My father always taught me that when you help other people, then God will give you double,” Ronaldo said in 2013 in an ESPN article. “And that’s what has really happened to me. When I have helped other people who are in need, God has helped me more.”

        Junior Owen Bell says, “He’s simply the best. He’s dominated every league he’s played in for his whole career and he’s still going strong at the age of 35. I think he still could be playing well into his 40s with the work ethic he has. He truly is astonishing.”

       Ronaldo has his supporters and admirers but he has certainly gotten some bad press. For example, a sexual assault lawsuit was filed against him in 2019. Kathryn Mayorga, a Nevada citizen accused Ronaldo of sexual assault in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009. The case was deemed closed when the courts could not definitively prove Ronaldo was involved. The result may have been a win for Ronaldo, but the whole situation succeeded in painting a bad picture of him.

       Also, there are many people who see Ronaldo as selfish and arrogant and envy his success.

       Rivalries and jealousy provide the basis for many views and Ronaldo has been involved in many soccer rivalries, including a rivalry with Barcelona that is fueled with a lot of history. It is the fans that follow their club until their death and only believe in one thing: verbally attacking the opposition. Despite his critics, Ronaldo continues to play the game he loves and has grown to become a family man.

       Ronaldo has a partner in Georgina Rodríguez and four children, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr, Mateo Ronaldo, Eva Maria Dos Santos, and Alana Martina Dos Santos Aveiro. Ronaldo’s oldest son is Cristiano Jr. He has followed in the footsteps of his dad and has taken a liking to soccer, playing for the U12 Juventus team. Ronaldo talked about Cristiano Jr in his biography, saying,  “It’s crazy for me to think about now. My son, Cristiano Jr., is seven years old as I’m writing this. And I just think about how I would feel, packing up a bag for him in four years and sending him to Paris or London. It seems impossible. And I’m sure it seemed impossible for my parents to do with me.”