Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, born on February 5th, 1985 and commonly known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Real Madrid and serves as captain of the Portuguese national team. Ronaldo currently holds the distinction of being the most expensive player in football history after having transferred to Real Madrid from Manchester United in a deal worth £80 million (€94m, US$132m). His contract with Real Madrid is believed to have made him the highest-paid football player in 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 to Portuguese giants Sporting CP. Ronaldo's precocious talent caught the attention of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and he signed the 18-year-old for £12.24 million in 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 first international 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 the Year 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 Johan Cruyff said 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."