Born and bred in Madeira, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most famous person to come out of Portugal, as well as the most followed person on Instagram with 446 million followers. To many, he is the best player in the world. Get to know CR7 with these 17 interesting facts you might not know about!
1. Cristiano Ronaldo grew up working class
Cristiano Ronaldo did not come from money. He was born in the Sao Pedro parish of Funchal and is the fourth and youngest child of an impoverished Portuguese family. His mother was a cook and his dad was a gardener who struggled with alcoholism and died in 2005 from liver failure. In her book “Mother Courage”, Ronaldo’s mother Dolores Aveiro details how she considered terminating her pregnancy with Ronaldo due to poverty and her husband’s issues with alcohol.
2. You can study the sociology of Cristiano Ronaldo at the University of British Columbia Okanagan
In 2015, BC Okanagan Associate Professor Luis LM Aguiar made the media by announcing his Sociology fourth-year course about Cristiano Ronaldo. The professor believed “Ronaldo’s social and cultural appeal transcends football, making him an interesting study”. He told UBC News, “I’m interested in 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, and his Portuguese identity”. The course addresses issues of identity, nationality, and representation, and discusses the phenomenon of Ronaldo across the Portuguese diaspora.
3. Ronaldo is a billionaire
Not only is Cristiano Ronaldo the richest soccer player in the world, but he is also the first soccer player billionaire. According to Forbes, in 2020 he actually became the first active team-sport athlete to surpass $1 billion in career earnings. He definitely does not live the impoverished life he once did. He owns at least 8 homes and is building a retirement mansion, having a property empire of over $54 million. From a limited edition $10.7 million dollar Bugatti Centodieci and a large collection of luxury cars, Ronaldo lives the life of the 1%.
4. He was named after Ronald Reagan
This one is a random one! Cristiano Ronaldo told GQ, “My parents named me after [Ronald Reagan] because they both liked this name and thought it sounded strong”. He said his “father admired him” way long before Reagan became the President of the United States as he was his favorite actor.
5. CR7’s nickname growing up was Little Bee and Cry Baby
As a kid, Ronaldo was nicknamed “cry baby” by his family and friends as he used to cry when he passed the ball and his friends wouldn’t score, according to his mom. They also called him Little Bee because of how fast he was which remains true to this day.
6. Cristiano has scored over 800 goals in his career
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 807 career goals, making him the highest ever goalscorer in the history of men’s soccer. Lionel Messi is 48 goals away from Ronaldo, but you never know if he will catch up due to their 3-year difference. The previous record-holder was Josef Bican scoring 805 goals between 1931 and 1955.
7. He reached 32.51 km/h in a match against West Ham in 2021
In September of 2021, Ronaldo clocked 32.51 km/h to become the fastest football player to do so in any match, in a game against West Ham. He beat the likes of his Manchester United teammate Aaron Wan-Bissaka and West Ham United forward Jarrod Bowen.
8. When Ronaldo jumps, he generates 5 times the power of a cheetah
When Ronaldo jumps in a match, he generates 5 times the power of a cheetah in full flight, allowing him to reach 44 centimeters in the air from a standing start and 78 centimeters with a run-up. This is 7 centimeters more than the average NBA player!
9. He had heart surgery at the age of 15
Cristiano Ronaldo was diagnosed with Tachycardia, a term for a rapid heartbeat of over 100 times per minute. This can lead to stroke or heart failure so, at the age of 15, he underwent heart surgery. His mother told the Daily Mail in 2009 that the doctors “used a sort of laser to cauterize the source of the problem and that “he was operated on in the morning and came out at the end of the afternoon”. He was able to play soccer again within a few days after the surgery.
10. The CR7 Museum in Funchal celebrates his life
Founded in 2013, the CR7 Museum is located in his birthplace in Funchal, Madeira, and celebrates the soccer player’s career and life. At the museum, you will find photos from Cristiano’s childhood up until now, as well as the trophies and medals he won and even soccer balls from matches he played! Above the museum stands a 4-star hotel built in partnership between Ronaldo and Pestana Group called the Pestana CR7 Funchal.
11. He has vowed to never get tattoos
Cristiano Ronaldo has zero tattoos, not even a tiny one! He regularly donates blood and does not want to have to wait months after a tattoo to be able to donate. He is also registered as a bone marrow donor.
12. Cristiano Ronaldo was arrested in 2005 on charges of rape
In 2005, Ronaldo was arrested over the alleged rape of two women at a London hotel. He denied the allegations and the case was dropped by Scotland Yard due to insufficient evidence. He was then accused of allegedly raping a woman in 2009 in Las Vegas, but Ronaldo claimed they had consensual sex. The story only came out in 2017, when the German newspaper Der Spiegel revealed a non-disclosure agreement dating from January 2010 was signed with a payment of $375,000 providing the alleged victim did not go public with the allegation. As no criminal case ever came to a conclusion, Ronaldo has never been found either guilty or acquitted of any rape allegations.
13. He won a libel payout against The Daily Telegraph in 2010
In 2008, the Daily Telegraph claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo put an injured ankled at risk by partying in a Hollywood nightclub. The article said he put down his crutches to dance with models, causing offense and embarrassment. In a libel court case against the paper, the Daily Telegraph said the allegations were false and offered Ronaldo a libel payout that he accepted in 2010. In 2008, he also accepted undisclosed damages from the Sun, which claimed he had been fined for breaking Manchester United’s club rules when using a phone during training. He ended up donating the damages to a charity in Madeira.
14. Cristiano Ronaldo’s legs were insured for over €100 million
In 2009, Real Madrid announced that the team had insured Cristiano Ronaldo’s legal for around €100 million. This is not the most expensive body part insurance in soccer, as Lionel Messi’s left foot is insured at €750 million.
15. He has a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike
As of 2016, Ronaldo has had a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike worth $1 billion. He is the third lifetime deal after LeBron James and Michael Jordan. This might seem expensive but Forbes reported that in 2016, Ronaldo’s social media presence generated $474 million in value for Nike via 329 posts. This was when he had 240 million followers across platforms and today, he has 395 million on Instagram alone, making him the most followed person on the platform.
16. He met his partner Georgina Rodriguez when she was working at Gucci in 2016
Cristiano met Georgina at the Gucci store in Madrid where she was working as a shop assistant. Georgina was 22 years old and Ronaldo was 31 years old. The couple has been together for 6 years and a large family with five children, Cristiano Junior, 11 years old, the twins Eva and Mateo, 4 years old, Alana Martina, 4 years old, and now a baby boy. The baby girl was a twin to a baby boy who tragically passed away at birth in April of 2022.