Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, OIH, born 5 February 1985, commonly known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese footballer who playsas a winger or a forward for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and serves as captain of the Portuguese national team. Ronaldo currently holds the distinction ofbeing the most expensive player in football history after being transferred from Manchester United to Real Madrid in a transfer deal worth £80 million (€94m, US$132m).In addition, his contract with Real Madrid, in which he is to be paid £11 million per year over the following six years, makes him the highest paid football playerin the world.
Ronaldo began his career as a youth player for Andorinha, where he played for two years, then moved to Nacional. In 1997, he made a move toPortuguese giantsSporting CP. Ronaldo's precocious talent caught the attention of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and he signed the 18-year-old for £12.24 millionin 2003. The following season, Ronaldo won his first club honour, the FA Cup, and reached the Euro 2004 final with Portugal, in which tournament he scored his firstinternational goal.
In 2008, Ronaldo won the Champions League with United, and was named player of the tournament. He was named the FIFPro World Player of theYear and the FIFA World Player of the Year, in addition to becoming Manchester United's first Ballon d'Or winner in 40 years. Three-time Ballon d'Or winner JohanCruyffsaid in an interview on 2 April 2008, "Ronaldo is better than George Best and Denis Law, who were two brilliant and great players in the history of United."