Saturday, 7 May 2016

10 Things You Didn't Know About Cristiano Ronaldo!

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't shy away from the limelight, with his life - both professional and personal - constantly spread all over the headlines like peanut butter on bacon. No? Just me? Never mind then.
Whilst it's true that stories of Ronaldo's upbringing, career and love life are very well publicised, there's still a lot of things you probably don't know about the three-time Ballon d'Or winner. Unless you're some kind of sad act who just sits and scrolls through the internet looking for facts about him all day. Kind of like I'm doing right now. Moving swiftly on...
So, without further ado, here are ten facts you (hopefully) didn't know about Cristiano Ronaldo...
1) Cristiano was named after former US President Ronald Reagan
He was born Cristiano Dos Santos Aveiro, but his father was such a big fan of Reagan that he also gave his son the surname 'Ronaldo', which is the Portuguese version of 'Ronald'. I wonder if we'll see any players named after Barack Obama in the future...
2) He is a keen poker player, and is currently one of the faces of PokerStars
With various rumours cropping up over the years of Ronaldo popping up in online poker tournaments from time to time, he's now one of the faces of the world's biggest poker site.

3) Gerard Houllier spotted Cristiano playing at a youth tournament when he was the manager of Liverpool, but didn't make an attempt to sign him due to recent changes to Liverpool's wage structure
In 2002-2003, after Ronaldo had spoke about his admiration of Liverpool and the Premier League, Houllier decided to sign El Hadji Diouf and Salif-bloody-Diao instead. Ha. Haha. Hahaha.
4) One manager who did make an attempt to sign him before he joined Manchester United was Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Speaking in an interview in 2013, he admitted Ronaldo was so close to signing for Arsenal that he had already been given the number 9 shirt.
"He was very close to coming here. He had a number nine shirt with Ronaldo on the back from Arsenal. What happened was that Carlos Queiroz went to Manchester United and they snapped him away from us because he knew him from Sporting." Unlucky, Arsenal fans...

5) When he was finally snapped up by Manchester United, he didn't want his now-famous number 7 shirt
The shirt had previously been worn by legends such as George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham, but Ronaldo didn't want the pressure that came with it. He wanted to be number 28 instead. Sir Alex Ferguson told him he was having the number 7, and he would just have to work hard to live up to the level of expectation that comes with it. Unbelievable management!

6) Cristiano was voted as the best young player at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but complaints from fans meant he didn't actually receive the award
He was set to win the award comfortably after receiving the most votes, but his involvement in Wayne Rooney's famous red card led to an e-mail campaign to give the award to someone else. FIFA consequently stripped Ronaldo of the award for unsporting behaviour and gave it to Lukas Podolski, who didn't even finish second in the voting.
7) Ronaldo's mother, Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, played a big part in his decision to leave Manchester United
She's a big Real Madrid fan and dreamt of seeing her son play regularly at the Bernabéu. She also wanted him to be close to home, and felt Manchester was too far away.

8) In 2009, Cristiano became the first Premier League player to lift the FIFA World Player of the Year award
He fought off competition from Lionel Messi and then-Liverpool star Fernando Torres to win the award.
9) Ronaldo was the very first person to win the now-famous Puskas Award. The award was created in October 2009 to reward the best goal of the year, in honour of the legendary striker Ferenc Puskas
Ronaldo won the award for his 40-yard wonder goal which sent Manchester United to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. He finished first in the voting with 17.68% of the votes, beating Barcelona's Andres Iniesta and Grafite of Wolfsburg to the gong.

10) I've saved the best 'til last... Probably my favourite thing about Ronaldo is all of the amazing things he does for good causes, including charities and people who are less fortunate than himself. He has always been someone who tries to give, in any way he can
Back in 2009, he donated £100,000 to the hospital his mother was treated in. In 2012 he paid for specialist treatment for a young boy with terminal cancer. In 2014, he paid £50,000 for another child's surgery, then went a step further by shaving a zig zag into his hair which matched the young boy’s surgery scar. On top of all of this and much more, he is also a global ambassador for Save The Children. Someone buy the man a pint!