Posted on April 14, 2017
3. Signing for Real Madrid in 2009
Virtually every player in world football would give his right arm to sign for Los Blancos. In 2009 Ronaldo got his wish as Madrid forked out an astonishing £80m to Man Utd to make Cristiano the world's most expensive player.
This fee was £24m more than previous record signing Kaka & launched Ronaldo's global profile from huge to absolutely stratospheric.
Ronaldo hit the ground running for Real, scoring 21 times in his first season, 50 times in his second & then 66 in his 3rd season. Cristiano has won 10 major trophies since he signed, including two Champion's League victories.
2. Becoming Real Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer
It was hard to imagine anyone ever scoring more goals for Los Blancos than than the great Raul, however Cristiano surpassed Raul's goal tally after only just over 6 seasons at the Bernabeu.
In 2015 Ronaldo notched his 324th goal for the club in a 3-0 victory over Levante to put his name in the club record books. At the time of writing this article, Cristiano now has 374 goals for the club. Now considering he recently signed a contract to keep him at the Berneabeu until 2021, it's almost inevitable that he'll pass the 400 goal mark & won't stop there.
1. Winning the Euros with Portugal in 2016
In the eternal debate over whether it's Ronaldo or Messi who can claim to be the greatest player ever, one thing truly separates the two: International success.
Although Messi has come close with Argentina, Ronaldo captained Portugal to to tournament success during Euro 2016. Ronaldo is well-known to be fiercely competitive, particularly with the little Argentinian genius, so to have an international trophy to his name was more than welcome.
Despite a distinctly average showing in the group stages that involved 3 draws against Iceland, Austria & Hungary, Portugal scraped through to the knockout phases as one of the best 3rd placed sides. No one would have expected tournament victory for them at this point, however the knockout phases brought the team to life.
They won a scrappy victory vs Croatia 1-0 in the first round, before Ronaldo scored in a penalty shootout victory over Poland. The semi-finals brought on one of the tournament's surprise-packages, Wales. Portugal ran out 2-0 winners with Cristiano scoring the first goal on 50 minutes.
The final was played against much-fancied France with the ultra-talented, but somewhat inconsistent, Paul Pogba. Sadly Ronaldo was injured in the first 20 minutes & was carried off almost in tears.
However, from the sidelines Ronaldo kicked every ball, contested every decision & was arguably more animated than he had been in his 20 minutes on the pitch. Many pundits took this moment to predict a management role for Ronaldo once he finally calls it a day on his playing career. Portugal went on to win the final 1-0 after extra time.
The graft, grit & determination that both Ronaldo & Portugal showed to win Euro 2016 is perhaps the perfect metaphor for the Madeira-born superstar's fighting spirit that has seen his career hit such heights.