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Widely regarded as the most complete forward in football history, Cristiano Ronaldo is a global superstar.
The Portuguese football icon was always destined for greatness having started playing football in 1992 at his hometown team, Andorinha where his father was the kit man.
Ronaldo moved to another local club, Nacional in 1995 and at the age of 12, he went on a three-day trial with Primeira Liga giants Sporting CP, who signed him for a fee of £1,500.
Also known as CR7, Ronaldo reportedly believed he had the ability to play semi-professionally at the age of 12, and agreed with his mother to cease his education in order to focus entirely on football.
Blessed with amazing dribbling skills, CR7 became the first player to play for Sporting's under-16, under-17 and under-18 teams, the B team, and the first team, all within a single season in 2001.
"He was already a leader as a 12-year-old just like he is now; it didn't matter what the game was," Ronaldo's former coach at Sporting academy, Leonel Pontes said on Marca.
"We were closely matched in table football, but in table tennis he would always beat me, he had great technique and I used to laugh as he tried to show how he did it. He was something else as a kid."
Ronaldo, who is very strong with both feet and a great header of the ball, made his debut in the Primeira Liga in October 2002, against Moreirense, where he scored two goals in their 3-0 win and never looked back.
CR7 went on to hit the back of the net five times in 31 competitive matches for Sporting at the age of 18 and attracted interest from English giants Liverpool FC, Arsenal and Manchester United.
In 2003, Ronaldo became United's first-ever Portuguese player when he signed before the 2003/04 season. At the time his transfer fee of £12.24 million made him the most expensive teenager in English football history.
Ronaldo won the FA Cup in his first season and helped the Red Devils win three successive Premier League titles, the UEFA Champions League, and the FIFA Club World Cup; and at age 23, he won his first Ballon d'Or under Sir Alex Ferguson.
"Ronaldo could play for Stockport County and score a hat-trick," Ferguson said on Independent.
"He has everything. He can shoot with both feet, head the ball, he’s as brave as a lion, and here’s something else people overlook."
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Real Madrid snapped up Ronaldo in 2009 where he was the subject of the then-most expensive association football transfer when he signed for the Spanish giants in a transfer worth €94 million (£80 million).
While at the Spanish club CR7 won 15 trophies, including two La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, four UEFA Champions League titles and became Real's all-time top goalscorer with 450 goals.
After winning a third consecutive Champions League title in 2018, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner became the first player to win the modern continental trophy five times.
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Ronaldo signed for Juventus in a transfer worth an initial €100 million (£88 million) in 2018, the highest ever paid by an Italian club and the highest ever paid for a player over 30-years-old
The Portugal captain, who has helped Juventus win the Serie A and Supercoppa Italiana, is also an accomplished player at international level with Portugal.
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As Portugal's most capped player (164 matches) and his country's all-time top goalscorer (99 goals), Ronaldo has appeared and scored in ten major tournaments.
CR7 was named the best Portuguese player of all time by the Portuguese Football Federation in 2015 as he captained his nation to the 2016 UEFA Euro and 2019 UEFA Nations League triumphs.
The 35-year-old player is one of the most marketable and famous athletes in the world, and was ranked the world's highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2016 and 2017.
Ronaldo, who is also the most followed user on both Instagram and Facebook, was also on their list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2014 by Time magazine.
"The numbers do not lie and illuminate the overwhelming way in which Cristiano Ronaldo shatters the records," Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes said on TuttoSport.
"Which elevates him to the category of the best player in the history of football and with a big difference compared to the second."
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