Turns out there is more to Cristiano Ronaldo than what meets the eye as we present five things that most people don’t know about him.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the world’s most influential athletes today following a record-breaking career in football.
Many experts, coaches and former players frequently hail him as one of the greatest of all-time, if not the best. His skills, scoring prowess, work ethic and resolve are unrivalled in the sport.
Naturally, Ronaldo’s story has led to many fans watching his every move. He’s the most followed celebrity on Instagram with 198.2m followers and regularly keeps everyone updated.
But there is a lot more to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner than most people perceive him to be.
So here we give you five things about Ronaldo’s past that you may never have heard of before now.
Ronaldo nearly didn’t become CR7
The nickname “CR7” is a reference to Cristiano Ronaldo’s initials and shirt number.
Fans have closely associated him with this moniker for most of his career. He even created a fashion label once using the CR7 nickname.
Turns out, though, there nearly wasn’t a CR7 when Ronaldo requested to wear the No.28 jersey at Manchester United.
The 18-year-old had just completed a €19m transfer from Sporting CP in 2003. Expectations were already high at Old Trafford following that sensational performance in Lisbon in the summer.
So Ronaldo wasn’t keen to fuel the hopes by donning the iconic No.7 jersey which United legends like David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson and George Best had all worn in the past.
But Sir Alex Ferguson already knew Cristiano would become a big deal.
“After I joined, the manager asked me what number I’d like,” said Ronaldo.
“I said 28.
“But Ferguson said, ‘No, you’re going to have No. 7’ and the famous shirt was an extra source of motivation. I was forced to live up to such an honour.”
After initially starting out as a No.9 at Real Madrid, Ronaldo became Los Blancos’ newest seven when Raul Gonzalez left for Schalke in 2010.
The USA president
For many years, fans have often confused Cristiano’s surname with that of Brazilian legend Ronaldo Nazario.
Granted, it’s an easy mistake to make and understandable why some even think his folks named him after The Phenomenon.
But the truth is that Cristiano’s parents named him after the ex-United States president and actor Ronald Reagan. As Ronaldo is the Portuguese translation of the former’s first name.
His father, Jose Dinis Aveiro, was a huge admirer of Reagan’s.
“My parents named me after [Ronald Reagan] because they both liked this name and thought it sounded strong,” Ronaldo told GQ.
“I know that my father admired him.”
Safe to say that bragging rights belong to the Reagan on this one.
While many players cover most of their bodies in tattoos nowadays, Cristiano Ronaldo remains completely ink-free.
The Portuguese has always refused to get a tattoo as he’s regularly donated his own blood since the age of 24.
As per Red Cross rules, no donor can provide any blood to clinics within four months of getting inked.
Another great example of Ronaldo’s selflessness is when he donated some bone marrow to the son of Portugal team-mate Carlos Martins. The boy, Gustavo, was suffering from aplastic anaemia in 2012.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 30, 2017
He’s also donated hundreds of thousands to medical centres in his hometown of Madeira.
Another notable moment was when Ronaldo sold his 2011 Golden Boot for €1.5m to fund schools for children in Gaza.
Expelled at school
Leaving home for Lisbon was a tough one to swallow for a young Cristiano Ronaldo.
He was homesick, bullied and struggled to adapt to life outside of Madeira. His accent was often the brunt of jokes, even the teachers found them amusing.
Then came an unfortunate incident when a 14-year-old Ronaldo lost his temper and threw a chair at his teacher. It turns out the man mocked him and his family for their lack of money.
“I was not thick but I was not interested in school,” said Ronaldo.
“I was expelled after I threw a chair at the teacher.
“He disrespected me.”
Ronaldo’s mother, Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, later paid it off and allowed her son to drop out of school.
He then pursued a full-time football career and became the player we all know to be today.
The moment Ronaldo’s career nearly ended
A 15-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s world was turned upside down when doctors diagnosed him with a racing heart condition.
Sporting CP were aware of the situation and couldn’t allow the future five-time Ballon d’Or winner to continue playing. Thus, Ronaldo’s future was in serious jeopardy unless he went under the knife.
It was either that or give up on the big dream altogether.
“His heart raced a lot when he wasn’t running,” said Dolores Aveiro.
“They used a sort of laser to cauterise the source of the problem. He was operated on in the morning and came out at the end of the afternoon.”
Fortunately, the surgery was a success and Ronaldo returned to the pitch only a few days later.