Friday, February 5, 2016

5 February 1985 - Silver Polish Makes A Good Present

On 5 February 1985, three-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was born in Funchal, Portugal. 

A right winger, Ronaldo started his professional career in 2002 with Lisbon's Sporting CP. Only 16, he broke into the first team that year, making a total of 31 appearances and scoring 5 goals. In a friendly against Manchester United in the summer of 2003, he so impressed the opposing player that they urged manager Alex Ferguson to sign him. Ferguson complied, bringing Ronaldo to Manchester for £12.24 million.

Although frequently criticized by opposing fans and the media for simulation, Ronaldo blossomed at United, making 40 appearances in his first season as United lifted the FA Cup. More silverware followed, including three straight league titles (2007, 2008, 2009) and the UEFA Champions League trophy (2008). In the double-winning 2007-08 season, he scored a career-best 41 goals in all competitions and won both the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year Award.

In the summer of 2009, he consummated a year-long courtship with Spanish giants Real Madrid, who paid a world-record £80 million to pull him away from United. Since then, he's made 328 appearances for them and scored 343 goals, while winning La Liga in 2012 and the Champions League in 2014. He also won the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2013 and 2014.

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