Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the biggest sporting icons in the world today. Ronaldo has been one of the best players in the world for more than a decade now and is certainly one of the all-time greats.
He has a rabid fan base all over the globe who are obsessed with every move of the Portuguese superstar. And while Ronaldo never stays away from the media for a long amount of time, there are still a lot of things that even his most hardcore fans might not know about him.
#5. He did not want the number 7 jersey
Today the whole world might know him as 'CR7,' but originally Ronaldo never wanted the number 7 jersey in the first place. Before coming to Manchester United, he had worn the number 28 jersey at Sporting Lisbon and wanted to wear the same number for The Red Devils as well.
The then 18-year-old Ronaldo was probably intimidated by the storied history of the number 7 at Old Trafford. The same number had been worn by legends like George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham in the past. He even admitted to this in an interview later on.
But Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, had seen the potential in Ronaldo and convinced him to take up the legendary number 7. The rest is history.
#4. His career almost ended when he was just 15 years old
Cristiano Ronaldo is the perfect example of what a modern-day footballer should be. He is strong, fast and built like Hercules. But this was not always the case. On the contrary, Ronaldo suffered from health issues in his childhood.When he was just 15 years old, he was diagnosed with a heart disease. Ronaldo had a 'racing heart' while growing up, which means his heart would beat abnormally fast at times. In an interview, his mother Dolores even revealed that there were genuine fears that Ronaldo would have to give up football due to this disease.
But thankfully, he had a successful operation to cure his irregular heartbeat and was back to training a few days later. It is hard to imagine what football would be like today if the disease had actually ended Ronaldo's career.
#3. Cristiano broke a Diego Maradona record on his first day at Real Madrid
Real Madrid signed Ronaldo in a world record £80 million deal from Manchester United back in 2009. While this record has been broken has been multiple times over the past 10 seasons, Ronaldo created another record that day that is yet to be broken.It is the record for highest attendance at a player presentation ceremony. When Real Madrid unveiled Ronaldo as a Real Madrid player, 80,000 Los Blancos fans packed the Santiago Bernabeu to get a glimpse of their world record signing.
Incidentally, this record belonged to the legendary Diego Maradona before Cristiano. When he had signed for Napoli back in 1984, their Stadio San Paolo was filled with 75,000 fans to welcome the Argentine magician to Napoles.
#2. CR7 was called 'cry baby' by his teammates
It is no secret that Ronaldo wears his heart on his sleeve on the football pitch. He is no stranger to the occasional tantrum. But it looks like this is a habit that he has always had.Ricardo Santos grew up with Ronaldo in the island of Madeira and was his teammate at amateur club CF Andorinha. In an interview with The Independent, Santos revealed that Ronaldo was called 'cry baby' by his teammates during his childhood.
The nickname emerged due to Ronaldo throwing temper tantrums whenever his team lost or did not pass him the ball. On some occasions, the Portuguese superstar would even start crying.
This hunger for winning has served Ronaldo well in the long run as he has been the 'Best Player in the World' on five different occasions.
#1. Ronaldo almost joined FC Barcelona
The last decade in football has been defined to a large extent by the epic rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi. Both players are claimed to be the 'best player in the world' by their fans and both of them present pretty convincing cases in their favour.But one regret that every football fan of this generation has, is not being able to see both men play in the same team. What most people don't realize is how close this was to become reality.Joan Laporta was the President of FC Barcelona from 2003 to 2010. He revealed that he was offered the services of the Portuguese star for a fee of €17 million by his agent back in 2003.
But Barcelona had already signed Ronaldinho, Marquez, and Quaresma that summer, and could not afford another player. As a result, Ronaldo ended up signing with Manchester United and would later join Barcelona's eternal rivals, Real Madrid.