Ronaldo was born in Madeira, Portugal, to Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro and the late José Dinis Aveiro (1954 – London, 5 September 2005). He has one older brother, Hugo (b. 1975), and two elder sisters, Elma (b. 1974) and Liliana Cátia (b. Madeira, 5 October 1976). Liliana Cátia works as a singer by the stage name "Ronalda" in Portugal. She is married to José Pereira and has a son named Rodrigo. Cristiano's second name ("Ronaldo") is relatively rare in Portugal. His parents named him after former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
He began kicking a football when he was three, and when he started primary school at age six, his passion for the sport was obvious. His favourite boyhood team was SL Benfica even though he would later join their rival, Sporting. He first played for an amateur team, Andorinha, where his father was the kit man, when he was just eight years old. By 1995, at just ten years of age, Cristiano Ronaldo's reputation was growing in Portugal. Madeira's top two teams, CS Marítimo and CD Nacional were both interested in signing him. Marítimo, the bigger team, missed a crucial meeting with Rui Santos manager of Andorinha, and as a result Ronaldo signed for Nacional. After a title-winning campaign at Nacional, Ronaldo went on a three day trial with Sporting who subsequently signed him for an undisclosed sum.
Sporting Clube de Portugal
Ronaldo joined Sporting's other youth players who trained at the Alcochete, the club's "football factory," where he received first-class instruction. Sporting realised that Ronaldo needed more support and arranged for his mother to join him. He made his debut for Sporting against Moreirense and scored two goals. He also featured for Portugal in the UEFA Under 17 Championships.
His performances at the UEFA Under 17 championship drew him to the attention of the wider football world. He was first spotted by former Liverpool F.C. manager Gérard Houllier at the age of 16. However, Liverpool later declined him because he was too young and needed some time to develop into a top footballer. However, he came to the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2003, when Sporting beat Manchester United 3–1 in the inauguration of the Alvalade XXI stadium in Lisbon. Ronaldo demonstrated his ability to play on both wings. After the match, United's players spoke enthusiastically of the young talent that they had just played against, saying they would rather have him in their team than play against him in the future.
Ferguson decided that he wanted the youngster for his team, who were in the market for a right-sided midfielder with the departure of David Beckham to Real Madrid; Ronaldo was signed for a fee of £12.24 million. He made his debut for Manchester United as a 60th minute substitute against Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford. United were then 1-0 up but with just minutes on the pitch, Ronaldo won a penalty, which Ruud van Nistelrooy saw saved by Jussi Jääskeläinen. However, this did not affect the eventual outcome as the match ended in a 4-0 win to Manchester United. Ronaldo was handed the number 7 shirt on his arrival, a shirt number that has belonged to some of the greatest Manchester United legends like George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham. Ronaldo initially asked for the number 28 which he wore at Sporting, as he did not want the pressure of living up to expectations with the number 7. He has played primarily as a winger for United and can play on either wing. He has additionally also played in a central attacking role for Manchester United as well as a second striker.
In 2006, a row between him and Ruud van Nistelrooy at the Carrington training ground intensified speculation about their roles at the club. However, Ronaldo signed a new deal with United that would last until 2010. Ronaldo said of the deal, "United have stood by me and been there for me and I want to repay that."
Ronaldo has occasionally had problems with his temper during games, he was sent off in a game against Manchester City and received a one-match ban imposed by UEFA for a "one-fingered gesture" towards Benfica fans in a UEFA Champions League match in December 2005. While playing for Portugal in a friendly against Luxembourg he was given a yellow card for pushing Jeff Strasser in the throat in retaliation after Strasser tackled him. Felipe Scolari warned Ronaldo to keep his temper in check during the World Cup.
On 29 October 2005, Ronaldo scored Manchester United's 1000th Premiership goal, in a 4–1 loss at the hands of Middlesbrough. He bagged a double double in February, with two goals at home to Fulham and another pair at Fratton Park, and also scored in the following Premiership game against Wigan taking his tally to 8 Premiership goals. On 26 February 2006, Ronaldo played in the Carling Cup Final against Wigan in the Millennium Stadium at Cardiff, and scored a goal - taking his season's tally to 10 goals He was named FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year 2005, the only award to be voted for by fans. He received the same accolade the following year in 2006. He was also ranked 20th in the FIFA Player of the Year 2005 standings.
Despite the World Cup incident, Ronaldo remained popular with the majority of Manchester United fans when he played (and scored) in his first Premiership match since the 2006 World Cup. Manchester United fans could clearly be heard chanting "there's only one Ronaldo" at various points in the game, in a 5-1 win over Fulham F.C.
By December 2006, Ronaldo had become one of United's most influential players, scoring six goals in 3 league games to bring his overall tally up to 12 goals. He came on at half-time as a substitute against Wigan Athletic and immediately stamped his influence on the match with 2 goals in the space of a few minutes. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson concedes he would lose his wager with the Portuguese in his current form after setting a target of 15 goals for the season. The Scot remarked that he was "pleased for him because he works hard at his game. He's still learning the game. His ability to pass the ball has helped him this season. His passing has been very good. That just shows he is maturing. He's been fantastic, and he's getting better all the time."
In December, he was awarded the Barclays Player of the Month Award for the second successive month, becoming the third ever player in the Premiership to do so (after Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp in 1997 and Robbie Fowler in 1996). On 4 February 2007, in a match against Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Ronaldo was caught in yet another diving controversy, after winning United a controversial penalty despite seeming to receive little or no contact from Tottenham's Steed Malbranque.
As the end of each season approached, particularly in 2006 and 2007, it became traditional for rumours to start floating that Ronaldo was unsettled at Manchester United and wanted to play for Real Madrid - the rumours frequently originating from the board of Real Madrid who were reported in April 2007 to be willing to pay an unprecedented €80 million (£54 million) for Ronaldo. At the beginning of March 2007, however, Ronaldo, as well as Manchester United, confirmed that they would be negotiating an extension to his current contract. On 13 April 2007, Ronaldo signed a five-year, £120,000-a-week deal with United, making him the highest-paid player in United's history. He said, "I am very happy at the club and I want to win trophies and hopefully we will do that this season."
During the 2006-07 season, Ronaldo won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards. He received the two awards during a ceremony on the 22nd of April, 2007. In addition to winning the two awards (an accomplishment that has only been matched once - in 1977 by Andy Gray), Ronaldo was also named a member of the PFA Premiership Team of the Year, alongside seven of his fellow Manchester United teammates. On 24 April 2007, Ronaldo completed the treble by winning the PFA Fans' Player of the Year, an award which is given by winning the most votes from fans all over the United Kingdom. In addition, he was awarded the 2007 Portuguese Footballer of the Year, and at the beginning of May 2007 Ronaldo was also awarded the Football Writers' Association Award. He also received two awards from the club itself, the Player of the Year award, and the Fans' Player of the Year award. Ronaldo scored his 50th goal for Manchester United in the game against arch-rivals Manchester City which turned out to be the decisive goal which helped Manchester United claim the Premiership for the first time in 4 years.
During United's second match of the 2007-08 season against Portsmouth, Ronaldo was sent off for his alleged headbutt of Richard Hughes. Although there appeared to be little contact between the two players, referee Steve Bennett was standing right next to Ronaldo and was quick to show him the red card. After the match, Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that Ronaldo was provoked by Hughes, and that he had "fallen into the trap".