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Cristiano Ronaldo is a professional soccer player who has set records while playing for both Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Mia Hamm - Mini Biography (2:32)
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Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo plays forward for Real Madrid. He's considered one of the greatest and highest paid soccer players of all time.
A phenom from the moment he first kicked a soccer ball, David Beckham began playing for Manchester United at age 18. In addition to his status as a soccer star, he and his wife Victoria Beckham are a worldwide power couple.
Mia Hamm is largely considered the best female soccer player in history. She played with the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team for 17 years, building one of the biggest fan bases of any American athlete.
Hope Solo became one of the top soccer goalies during her college years. She helped Team USA win Olympic gold medals in both 2008 and 2012. In 2011, she appeared on "Dancing with the Stars."
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Cristiano Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. Manchester United paid £12 million to sign him in 2003—a record fee for a player of his age. In the 2004 FA Cup final, he scored Manchester's first three goals and helped them capture the championship. In 2008, he set a franchise record for goals scored. In 2009, Real Madrid paid a record $131 million for his services.
"It means a new challenge and is going to help me be the best footballer."
[On leaving Manchester United to play for Real Madrid.]
"Many people look at me and think they know me, but they don't at all."
"My father always taught me that when you help other people, then God will give you double."
"Listen, I'm not going to change the world. You're not going to change the world. But we can help, we can all help."
"When I was younger I couldn't understand the meaning of true friendship. Now I have more experience and I know who loves me without wanting anything."
"I want to win all the trophies possible!"
"I don't like to do things by halves. It has to be done well."
"Either you like me or not. There is nothing in between."
"I look at the ball, I look at the net and I say to myself, 'Take the kick, Ronaldo,' then I shoot."
"The goals I have scored are a consequence of the confidence I have."
"I keep to my word, my promise and dreams. I'll never close any door to any club."
Born Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, a small island off the western coast of the country, Ronaldo is the youngest of four children born to Maria Dolores dos Santos and Jose Dinis Aveiro. He was named after Ronald Reagan, a favorite actor of his father's.
Ronaldo grew up in a largely working class neighborhood, his home a small tin roofed shack that overlooked the ocean. His early life was shaped by hardship; his father, a gardener, often drank too much, and eventually died from kidney problems in 2005. To help keep the children fed, and maintain some financial stability, Ronaldo's mother worked as a cook and cleaning person.
It was through his dad's work as an equipment manager at a boy's club that Ronaldo was first introduced to the game of soccer. By the time he was 10 years old, he was already recognized as a phenomenon—a kid who ate, slept and drank the game. "All he wanted to do as a boy was play football," his godfather, Fernao Sousa, recalled for British reporters, adding, "He loved the game so much he'd miss meals or escape out of his bedroom window with a ball when he was supposed to be doing his homework."
By his early teens, Ronaldo's talent and legend had grown considerably. After a stint with Nacional da liha da Madeira, he signed with Sporting Portugal in 2001. That same year, at the tender age of 16, Ronaldo turned heads with a mesmerizing performance against Manchester United, wowing even his opponents with his footwork and deft skill. He made such an impression that a number of United players asked their manager to try and sign the young player. It wasn't long before the club paid Ronaldo's team more than £12 million for his services - a record fee for a player of his age.
Ronaldo, however, did not disappoint. He showed his promise early on in the 2004 FA Cup final, scoring the team's first three goals and helping them capture the championship. In 2008, a year after signing a five-year, £31 million contract, Ronaldo again justified the high tab when he put together one of the club's finest seasons in history, setting a franchise record for goals scored (42), and earning himself the FIFA World of the Year honor. In all, Ronaldo helped steer Manchester United to three premier league titles.
But Ronaldo's time in England was marred by his mother's 2007 struggle with breast cancer as well as his father's death from alcohol-related illness. The latter was especially hard for Ronaldo as the two had been close, and the young athlete had often pushed for his father to enter rehab and address his drinking.
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