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Real Madrid’s New Signing – A Profile of Cristiano Ronaldo
As if going to the Bernabeu Stadium to watch Real Madrid wasn’t already a big enough attraction, the club have now gone and broken the world transfer record to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to La Liga.
A staggering £80 million went to Manchester United to win the World Player of the Year – a sum which the Madrid club consider excellent value for money, given the skill the player possesses on the pitch. And, of course, the money-making potential it brings.
Football players, of course, always polarize opinion. Fans of one club are notoriously reluctant to praise the players of a bitter rival; they prefer to promote their team members. I remember last season, Marca, the spokesman for Real Madrid, proclaimed for several weeks that Arjen Robben could statistically prove to be a far better player than Lionel Messi, for example.
However, few polarize opinion as much as Cristiano Ronaldo. While many are willing to admit that he is currently the best player in the world, fewer are willing to say equally positive things about the man himself. This despite Sir Alex Ferguson publicly stating that he would like to see the player return to Old Trafford one day and the widespread appreciation that he has spent hours on the training pitch honing his skills. Why do so many football fans want to criticize Ronaldo for ‘diving’ and histrionics? Let’s face it, he’s hardly the first footballer to try to win a penalty when he’s lightly pushed into the box or to throw a tantrum when he’s substituted, is he?
Gloriously born in 1985 on the beautiful island of Madeira, in the capital Funchal, Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro is the youngest of four children. It says a lot about his parents that Ronaldo got his name from the fact that Ronald Reagan was his father’s favorite actor, apparently! Readers are invited to insert their chimpanzee jokes at this stage. He played amateur football from the age of eight, then moved to mainland Portugal after signing for Sporting Lisbon. It was in a friendly against Manchester United that marked the team’s stadium renovations in preparation for Euro 2004 that Ronaldo first impressed the manager of Sporting’s opponents, Sir Alex Ferguson – who went on to sign the player for over £12. million when he was only 18 years old.
This was a big gamble for such an inexperienced youngster, but one that restored Ferguson’s faith in the player’s undoubted talents. Ronaldo, initially criticized by many observers as a ‘show pony’, has developed into an impressive goalscoring and goal-scoring phenomenon. During his time in Manchester, he helped United win the Premier League title three years in a row and also the Champions League. He has transformed from a slightly frail-looking teenager to a strong, athletic player who, despite the attention he receives from defenders, misses several games due to injury.
His seemingly incendiary behavior towards Wayne Rooney must have made life difficult for him at Old Trafford for a while – as were his pleas to leave during and after Euro 2008. But never once did his towering confidence waver and he soon regained the support of fans and team-mates. And as for opposition fans booing him – well, like many great players, Ronaldo seems inspired by it rather than intimidated.
Cristiano Ronaldo has nothing left to prove on the football field. He won everything as an individual – World Player of the Year, Ballon d’Or, PFA Player of the Year, etc, etc. And, although the Portuguese national team he now leads is going through a relatively sticky patch, his influence on the teams he represents is always unparalleled.
All that remains for him is to play for the club he supported as a child and for which his mother Dolores clearly wanted him to sign. Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo are clearly made for each other – he looks right at home on the all-white strip, and the packed stadium that greeted his public unveiling showed just how much the Madrid public have longed for his signature. Now we have to find out if he can have the same impact on Madrid’s fortunes as he has on Manchester United’s. It might be a little harder – but it will be fun to watch.
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