Cristiano was born in Funchal, Madeira on February 5, 1985. He began his career at Andorinha, where he played for two years, before moving to Nacional. In 1997, he transferred to Portuguese giants Sporting Clube de Portugal, where he caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson. He was reportedly urged to sign Ronaldo by his players, after he bamboozled them in a friendly.
In 2003, Ferguson signed the 18-year-old for Manchester United for £12.24 million. After a slow start, when he was criticised for being a showpony, he overcame his detractors to become the most complete player in the Premiership, if not the world.
His skill at beating players, his prowess in front of goal, his strength and athleticism; all of this made him a crowd favourite. He even developed a new way of striking the dead balls; the dip and swerve he delivered made his free-kicks almost unstoppable.
No less a judge than Johan Cruyff was moved to proclaim: "Ronaldo is better than George Best and Denis Law, who were two brilliant and great players in the history of United."
In six years at the club he won one FA Cup, three Premiership titles and one Champions League. All of this persuaded Real Madrid to come knocking in the summer of 2009, handing him an €11 million a year contract and inserting a €1 billion buyout clause.
Cristiano became the world's most expensive footballer when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 for £80 million (€94 million). Far from being overpriced, if anything, it now looks as if Madrid got themselves a bargain.
He was just as influential at the Bernabeu, where the Spanish fans also took him to their heart. In the 2010-11 season, he became the highest goalscorer in a season in Madrid's history with 53 goals, surpassing the previous high of 49 by the legendary Ferenc Puskas. He also became the first player to win the prestigious Golden Shoe in two different leagues.
Ronaldo won the 2013 Fifa Ballon d'Or in January. He clinched the prize for the world's best player for the second time in his career after finishing ahead of Barcelona's Leo Messi and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery in the voting. He had finished runner-up three times in the previous four years to Messi since winning both the Ballon D'Or and Fifa World Player of the Year in 2008, before the two trophies became one.
On the international stage he led Portugal to victory in Euro 2016, inspiring his team-mates to an unlikely but deserved success.
He is Lionel Messi's only genuine rival to be regarded as the greatest player in the world.