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Cristiano Ronaldo turns 39: Staggering records, accomplishments of Portuguese legend

First Published: 5th February, 2024 8:17 IST

The Portuguese's transfer was also recorded as the highest for a player above 30 years old.

The legendary Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo who is also often called as the ‘greatest footballer of all time’ will celebrate his 39th birthday on Monday.

Each day Ronaldo proves that age is just a number. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is the perfect epitome of ‘ageing like a fine wine.’

Cristiano was born in Madeira on February 5, 1985, and had a tough childhood, as he used to clean streets to earn money for his family. However, the difficulties he faced in his early life did not divert him from becoming the best footballer in the world.

CR7 started his footballing career with the Portuguese club Sporting CP at the age of 16. He was the first Sporting CP who played for the U-16, U-17, U-18, B-team and the first team even before taking part in the senior team in 2002.

He played for Sporting CP’s senior team for one year from 2002 to 2003 and scored just four goals after appearing in 28 matches.
However, his skills gained a lot of attraction from the big English clubs like Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United. But in the end, former Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson came out as the winner to sign Ronaldo for United in July 2003.

Under SAF’s coaching, the Portuguese player started making headlines on big media outlets and embraced the legendary ‘number 7’ jersey. He became one of the most crucial players for Manchester United in the early 2000s. The Portuguese also helped United win three Premier League titles and one UEFA Champions League (UCL) in 2008.

During his six-year stint with the English club, CR7 scored 112 goals after playing 277 matches for the Red Devils. He also won his maiden Ballon d’Or trophy in 2008.

After the end of the 2008-2009 season, the then one-time Ballon d’Or winner made a shocking move to the Spanish Giants, Real Madrid and became the most expensive player in the world. The Los Blancos paid a whopping 80 million euros to bring him to the Spanish capital.
Even though he had to start his Real Madrid career with the number 9 jersey, it did not stop him from becoming the goalscoring machine. He scored 33 goals in his very first season.

In his second season with Real, Ronaldo scored 40 goals to reach the milestone of scoring the league’s most goals.

Breaking records became a new norm for Ronaldo during his nine years with the Los Blancos, which is considered his prime time.

He won four UCL, two La Liga, three UEFA Super Cup, two Copa Del Rey, and three FIFA Club World Cup trophies with the Whites.

Ronaldo scored 450 goals after playing 438 matches for the Los Blancos and is the highest goalscorer in the history of Real Madrid. CR7 also holds the record for the most UCL goals, which he achieved during his time with Real Madrid. He scored 105 UCL goals for the Spanish club.
Ronaldo will forever be remembered for his stunning bicycle kick goal against Juventus in the UCL 2018 quarter-final first-leg.

He won the rest of his four Ballon d’Or awards with Real Madrid in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

As rumours turned out to be true, the Madeira-born player parted ways with the Whites and moved to the Serie A club Juventus in 2018. The 39-year-old secured a 100 million Euros transfer to Juventus which also included an additional 12 million euros in fees.

The Portuguese’s transfer was also recorded as the highest for a player above 30 years old.

However, Ronaldo’s time with the Italian club is not being talked about enough. But still, he scored 101 goals after appearing for them in 134 matches. With Juventus, he won two Serie A, two Super Cups, and one Coppa Italia title.

He ended his stint with Juventus in 2021 and returned to his boyhood club, Manchester United.

He took part in only 54 games during his stint with the Red Devils and scored 27 goals. However, it did not last very long after he lambasted the United coach Erik Ten Hag in a controversial interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo claimed that Ten Hag did not respect the Portuguese player, following which United terminated the 39-year-old’s contract.
After ending his time with United, CR7 again made a shocking move to the Saudi Pro League when he joined Al Nassr in January 2023, where he scored 44 goals after taking part in 50 games for the Riyadh-based club.

In the ongoing season of the Saudi Pro League, the Portuguese has appeared in 18 matches for the Riyadh-based club and scored 20 goals. Ronaldo also made nine assists in the 2023-24 season for Al Nassr.
He had a stupendous 2023 as he ended the year by becoming the world’s top goal-scorer. In 2023, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner scored 54 goals for his country and his current club, Al Nassr.

Ronaldo also holds the world record for the most international goals, scoring 128 for Portugal since making his debut in 2003. He won a UEFA Nations League and EURO Cup with his country.

The birthday boy is considered one of the best footballers in the world, and he has set a few records that are hard to break in the near future. (ANI)

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