Cristiano Ronaldo: Top facts you did not know about Portugal’s football megastar

Cristiano Ronaldo.

The name is infamous globally, and almost everyone is likely to know the man who is dubbed one of the greatest players in football history.

When he’s not breaking records and winning awards with his clubs Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid or Juventus, he’s the beating heart, and captain, of Portugal’s national team.

Ronaldo was integral to the side both on the pitch and from the sidelines when Portugal won the European Championships back in 2016, claiming their first major tournament title.

As a 19-year-old, he was part of the Portugal Olympic squad that failed to make it past the group stages at Athens 2004.

Despite his name echoing in just about every corner of the world and his life followed attentively by adoring fans, here’s some things about Cristiano Ronaldo that you might not know.

1: Ronaldo’s Racing Heart

It is hard to imagine a footballing world in which Cristiano Ronaldo does not dominate it, but when he was just 15-years-old, premature retirement was a very real possibility.

Ronaldo was diagnosed with Tachycardia, which meant his heart would beat irregularly and, even when resting, would be racing.

In order to save his career, he had to undergo heart surgery.

“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,” his mother said.

While she had shared fears over his ability to continue player, Ronaldo didn’t share them, however, and was focused on playing again.

Incredibly, just a few days after surgery, he resumed training once again.

And, as they say, the rest is history.

2: The Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport

Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is where Cristiano Ronaldo was born and raised before switching to Lisbon to embark on his professional career.

Ronaldo has always spoken fondly of the small island he came from, and in turn, Madeira wanted to honour their international superstar.

In 2016 it was announced that they would be renaming their airport to Madeira International Airport Cristiano Ronaldo – though it is still commonly known as simply as Madeira Airport.

He joined the long list of figures throughout time who have had an airport named after them.

The year following the announcement, the unveiling happened.

As well as the name-change, the airpot also commissioned a bust which went viral… for all the wrong reasons.

Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo  (2017 Getty Images)

After attracting unprecedented attention, the bust was eventually replaced with one a little more replicable to Ronaldo.

Despite the bumps along the way, the gesture is indicative of just how much Ronaldo means to Madeira and the pride they feel towards him.

3: Cristiano Ronaldo LOVES Ricky Martin

That’s right.

Worldwide famous footballing sensation Cristiano Ronaldo just loves Ricky Martin, especially hit song Livin’ La Vida Loca.

He’s also admitted to being a fan of George Michael, Phil Collins, Elton John, and so on.

And in his early days at Madrid, he even had a playful jibe with Manchester based Oasis, claiming they were ‘no Ricky Martin’.

Even though his son prefers notorious rival Lionel Messi, he still shares his love of Ricky Martin in this clip of them singing La Mordidita.

Perhaps a surprise singing career on the cards when he finally retires from football? Stranger things have happened…

4: He has a lot of followers… a LOT

When you have the kind of notoriety that Ronaldo does, it’s natural that you will rack up a lot of followers across social media platforms.

But being number one in the world of footballing isn’t the only top spot he claims.

Ronaldo is the most-followed person on Instagram with 281 million followers, and he’s replicated that on Facebook with a cool 148 million followers.

Twitter is a slightly different story as pop-culture and presidency (courtesy of Barack Obama) takes centre stage, but he still sits comfortably in fifth has the most-followed sports figure on the platform.


Ronaldo: Olympic Highlights

5: ‘What do you study?’ ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’

As crazy as it sounds, back in 2015 University of British Columbia Okanagan introduced a sociology class on Ronaldo to be included in their fourth year modules.

Luis LM Aguiar, associate professor of sociology at the time, wanted to delve into “how Ronaldo has been used to construct several discourses about who he is, what makes him distinct as a footballer, what is his relationship to Portugal, Madeira (his hometown) and indeed Portuguese identity.”

Aguiar believed that Ronaldo would make a fascinating study for his class, given his ‘social and cultural’ appeal to people beyond football.

“Sociology is nothing if not the delving into the processes of structuring identities and experiences and exposing the social forces that push these processes.”

Luis LM Aguiar teaches a sociology class on Cristiano RonaldoLuis LM Aguiar teaches a sociology class on Cristiano Ronaldo (UBC Press Release)

6: CR7 was almost CR28

When Ronaldo made his £12 million-pound switch from Sporting to Manchester United, he asked for the no. 28 shirt, as opposed to the historic seven.

Worn by the likes of George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham, United’s seven shirt has always held a lot of weight for the player destined to wear it.

Sir Alex Ferguson told Ronaldo that he would be taking over the shirt number from Beckham, despite being newly transferred to the club and aged just 18.


“I was petrified as I knew Beckham wore that shirt. But I took on the challenge and since then it has been my lucky number,” he said.

“I have won everything in football with that shirt.”

Admittedly, CR28 doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as CR7, a number of which he built an empire on.

Cristiano Ronaldo challenged by volleyball record holder Zaytsev

7: Cristiano Ronald(o)

You might be surprised to learn that Ronaldo is actually named after former US President Ronald Reagan, courtesy of his mother and late father.

“My parents named me after him [Ronald Reagan] because they both liked this name and thought it sounded strong,” he told GQ.

“I know that my father admired him.”

Born in 1985, Reagan was still President at the time of Ronaldo’s birth, but Reagan being his dad’s favourite actor was the catalyst of choosing his name.

8: He loves giving back

This is a fact that you might know, actually.

It’s well known that Ronaldo loves to help people through donations as much as he can, wether it be to help fans with life changing operations or giving back to the hospital that helped his mother recover from cancer.

He has also stated multiple times before that he stays tattoo free so he can give blood whenever he can.

You may not know, however, he decided to donate blood after finding out that the son of Portuguese teammate Carlos Martins was diagnosed with a very rare blood disease.

He also became a bone marrow donator in the wake of the news, saying: “I did it many years ago and if I had to do it again I would because this is a very serious disease for many children and we need to help them.”

The Juventus forward will be back in action June 15 as Portugal begin their title defence against Hungary.


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