Happy Birthday Cristiano Ronaldo - 37 ‘factos’ about the Portuguese star

Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United FIFA The Best awardsGetty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo is widely considered as one of the greatest footballers to have ever graced the game.

The Manchester United and Portugal attacker was born 37 years ago to José Dinis Aveiro and Maria Dolores dos Santos Viveiros da Aveiro on February 5, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira in Portugal.

Let us take a look at 37 amazing ‘factos’ about Cristiano Ronaldo on his special day

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1. Named after 40th US President

The star footballer was born Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro in 1985 in Madeira Portugal. His father Jose Dinis Aveiro added Ronaldo to his name as he was a fan of the 40th US president Ronald Reagan.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronald ReaganGetty Images

2. Owes his career to a friend

Portuguese giants Sporting CP played a crucial role in shaping the career of Ronaldo as he made his professional debut for the club. But did you Ronaldo would not have got picked by Sporting scouts had his friend not assisted him to score a goal while Nacional’s youth team?

In the book, Cristiano Ronaldo: The Biography, written by Guillem Balague, the player was quoted saying, “I have to thank my old friend Albert Fantrau for my success. We played together for the same youth team. When scouts from Sporting came to see us in a game, they said that whoever scored the most goals would earn a scholarship at their academy.

"We won that match 3-0. I scored the first goal, then Albert scored the second with a great header. But it was the third goal that astonished everyone. Albert was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, I was running alongside him, and he passed to me so that I could score. In the end, I was accepted into the academy. After the match, I went to him and asked him why he had done what he did. Albert replied, ‘Because you are better than me’."

3. An avid blood donor so strict no-no to body tattoos

Cristiano Ronaldo does not have a single tattoo on his body as he is an avid blood and bone marrow donor. While having or getting a tattoo does not strictly prohibit one from donating blood or bone marrow, restrictions are advised and observed by blood donation facilitators.

The Red Cross advises that individuals should wait 12 months before giving blood if they have just had a tattoo applied in a state where tattoo studios are not regulated. Blood donation organisations in the United Kingdom generally advise potential donors to wait at least four months after getting a tattoo or piercing before giving blood. The former Real Madrid star often uses his social media platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter, to promote the cause of donating blood.

4. Ronaldo’s father was a Portuguese Army veteran

Cristiano’s father José Dinis Aveiro served the Portuguese Army and fought two wars in Angola and Mozambique. It was the war in Angola in 1975 that changed Jose Dinis’ life. After the lost war, he came back to Portugal as a broken man both mentally and financially. Back home, the country was drained out economically due to the multiple wars they fought. There were no jobs across the country and Jose Dinis remained unemployed for a long time. It was at that time that alcoholism gripped the man which eventually led to his death at the age of 51 in 2005 due to Liver Failure. 

Ronaldo’s father never got to see his son becoming one of the greatest footballers in the world and that is a regret the player still has. In an interview with ITV in 2019, he had mentioned, “I really don’t know my father 100 per cent. He was alcoholic. I never spoke with him, like a normal conversation. It was hard. To be the number one and he don’t see nothing, and he don’t see me receive awards, to see what I became.”

5. Jose Dinis Aveiro was a kitman in Ronaldo's first club

After retirement from the army, Jose Dinis Aveiro took up gardening as a profession and then became a kitman in a local club in Funchal named Andorinha. Incidentally, Ronaldo’s first-ever club was also Andorinha. In fact, Jose got the job because Ronaldo played there

6. Cristiano Ronaldo is a subject of study at a university

Interestingly, Cristiano Ronaldo is also a subject of study at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Canada. Sociology students at the university have the option to study the life and career of the superstar as a course subject.

7. A museum dedicated to Ronaldo

A museum named Museu CR7 was built at his birthplace - Funchal in Madeira - in 2013. It exhibits photographs and videos of the player's career and waxworks of Ronaldo with a pictorial background. It also has all the youth and professional trophies of the player at the clubs - CF Andorinha, Nacional da Madeira, Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus FC and the Portugal national team. A hotel is built above the museum which is owned by Ronaldo and Pestana Group.

Cristiano Ronaldo MuseumGetty Images

8. A heart condition that could have ended Ronaldo’s career

The Manchester United star was diagnosed with Tachycardia which meant his heart would beat irregularly and at a very fast pace at the age of 15. With such a heart condition, there were doubts whether he would be able to continue as a football player but after a successful surgery, he recovered fully. Thank god for that or else we would now live in a world without Ronaldo the superstar.

9. Anger issues as a child

Cristiano Ronaldo was hotheaded as a child and he was expelled from his school at the age of 14 after he threw a chair at one of his teachers for allegedly disrespecting him.

10. Played under 17 different managers

Starting from 2002, when he made his professional debut for Sporting CP, Cristiano Ronaldo has played under 17 different managers. Fernando Santos (Sporting CP), Sir Alex Ferguson, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Michael Carrick, Ralf Rangnick (Manchester United), Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez, Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid), Massimiliano Allegri, Maurizio Sarri, Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlos Queiroz, Paulo Bento and Fernando Santos (Portugal).

11. Loves to eat Portuguese dish Bacalhau à Brás

Everyone is aware of Cristiano Ronaldo and strict diets and how he loves to eat healthy food which keeps going strong as a player at the age of 37. But when he is not on diet, he loves eating a Portuguese dish named Bacalhau à Brás which is made from shreds of salted cod (Bacalhau), onions and fried potatoes, all bound with scrambled eggs.

12. Found a mention in Drake’s song

In 2018, famous Canadian musician Drake released a music album named Scorpion. In that album, a song named Blue Tint has mentioned the star player. One of the lines of the song goes, “Way this sh*t set up I live like Ronaldo, but I never been in Madrid.”

Cristiano Ronaldo, DrakeGetty Images

13. Arsenal and Liverpool’s loss was Manchester United’s gain

Back in 2003, Arsenal and Liverpool along with Manchester United were interested in signing the up and coming talent from Sporting Lisbon. Then Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier later admitted that the Reds had shown interest in getting Ronaldo from Sporting but his wage demands were too high for the club. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Houllier had said, “I saw him (Ronaldo) in the Toulon U21 tournament and we went for him, but we had a wage scale and we weren't paying the sort of salary he wanted.”

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger too was interested in roping in the Portuguese but Manchester United beat them in the race. In an interview with ITV in 2019, Ronaldo said, “It's true. Very close. One stop, incredible. Seriously. It didn't happen but, Arsenal, I appreciate what they did for me. Especially Arsene Wenger - but you know football and in football, you never know."

14. Childhood nicknames

Ronaldo’s mother Maria Dolores Aveiro once revealed in an interview that his son got the nicknames ‘cry baby’ and ‘Little Bee’ as a child. Explaining the significance of the nicknames, his mother said, “When he got home from school, I’d tell him to do homework but he’d say he didn’t have any. I’d be making dinner and he would jump out of the window and run off until late. He used to cry when he passed and his friends didn’t score. People called him ‘cry-baby’ and ‘Little Bee’ because nobody could catch him.”

15. A galaxy named after Ronaldo

In 2015, Astronomers led by David Sobral, a Reader in Astrophysics at the University of Lancaster, used the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the European Southern Observator, with help from the W. M. Keck Observatory, Subaru Telescope and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, made the discovery. The research team included members of the University of California, Riverside, University of Geneva, University of Leiden and University of Lisbon. The name of the galaxy (Cosmos Redshift 7 Galaxy or CR7 Galaxy) was inspired by Ronaldo himself.

16. Airport named after Ronaldo

Not just a galaxy but an airport in Portugal is named after Cristiano Ronaldo. The airport in Madeira, Ronaldo’s birthplace, was renamed Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport in 2016 after the player led Portugal to European Championship glory, the first-ever international trophy in the nation’s history.

Cristiano Ronaldo AirportGetty Images

17. Sold one of his Ballon d'Or awards for charity.

In 2017, Ronaldo sold the replica of the Ballon d’Or trophy which he received in 2013 to an auction in London to raise £600,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation - a charity that grants wishes for terminally-ill children. A man with a golden heart.

18. A film on Ronaldo’s life

A documentary film on the life of Cristiano Ronaldo was made by British film director Anthony Wonke. The film was released on November 9, 2015, in the United Kingdom.

19. Most followed person on Instagram

With 397 million followers on his Instagram account, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most followed individual in the world. After Ronaldo, comes Kylie Jenner (307 million) and Lionel Messi (305 million).

20. Most followed athlete on Twitter

With 97 million followers on his official account, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most followed athlete on Twitter.

21. Most followed athlete on Facebook

Along with Instagram and Twitter, Cristiano Ronaldo also dominates Facebook as he has 150,720,900 followers on the platform. He is the most followed athlete on Facebook.

22. The brand CR7

In 2013, the player launched his own brand CR7. It started with an underwear range but with time, it got expanded to eyewear, footwear, fragrances and denim apparel.

23. Only fourth footballer to have a statue at Madame Tussauds, London

In 2010, in the buildup to the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo got a wax statue at the Madame Tussauds in London. He was the fourth footballer to have a statue at the famous wax museum after Pele, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.

24. Won the first-ever Puskas Award

The Puskas Award,given to the best goal scored in a calendar year, was started in 2009 and Cristiano Ronaldo was the first-ever recipient of the award. He won it for his long-range goal against FC Porto in the 2008/09 Champions League for Manchester United.

25. 32 club and 2 international trophies

The Portuguese star has bagged a total of 34 trophies in his career out of which 32 are in club football and two with the Portuguese national team. 

26. Highest international goalscorer

In 2021, Cristiano Ronaldo surpassed former Iran international Ali Daei to become the all-time highest goalscorer in international football. He currently has 115 goals to his name.

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2021Getty Images

27. Scored against most number of national teams

Other than being the highest goalscorer in international football, he has also scored against the most number of national teams, 46.

28. Only player to score in four different World Cups

Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player in the world who has scored in four different World Cups (2006 to 2018). He has seven goals in four editions of the World Cup.

29. Most international caps among active players

Cristiano Ronaldo has played the most number of international matches, 184, among active football players.

Out of the 184 international matches he has played for Portugal, he has captained them in 127 matches which is the most for a Portuguese skipper.

30. Real Madrid’s all-time top goalscorer

With 450 goals to his name, Cristiano Ronaldo is Real Madrid all-time highest goalscorer. He achieved the feat in just nine seasons at the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid celebration 2017 BarcelonaGetty

31. All-time highest goalscorer in Champions League

Ronaldo is the all-time highest goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League with 140 goals to his name in 181 appearances.

32. Scored against most different clubs in Champions League

Other than being the all-time highest goalscorer in the Champions League, he has also scored against the most number of clubs in the competition, 37.

33. 3 FIFA World Player of the Year Awards and 5 Ballon d’Ors

Cristiano Ronaldo has won three FIFA World Player of the Year Awards (2 The Best FIFA Awards). He has won the award joint-highest number of times along with Zinedine and Brazil’s Ronaldo. He has also won five Ballon d’Or awards.

Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d'Or 2014Getty Images

34. Highest active goalscorer in the world

With 803 goals to his name combining club and international football, Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest active goalscorer in the world.

35. Most number of international hat-tricks by a male player

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored the most number of hat-tricks in international football among male players - 10.

36. Oldest player to score a hat-trick at World Cup

At the 2018 World Cup in a group stage tie against Spain, Cristiano Ronaldo became the oldest player to score a hat-trick in the World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo 2018 World CupGetty Images

37. Scored in every minute of the game

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of only three players in the history of football to score in every minute of the game. The other two players are Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Luis Suarez.