AS he looked through the lens of a camera that was taking a snap to complete his first registration card for the FA of Funchal, even Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't have expected this would be the start of a glorious football career.
Aged just seven, a young CR7 looks a far-cry from the pristinely presented football god we know today, now 36 and set to lead Portugal's forward line at Euro 2020.
The boy Ronaldo, with his bushy hair and awkward smile, could only have dreamed of being a Ballon d'Or-winner then – a feat he has achieved five times so far.
But it set the tone for the man who would go on to become a legend for Manchester United, Real Madrid, and his country.
FUNCHAL BORN AND BRED
Before Sir Alex Ferguson stumbled upon the forward's talents, the Madeira-born kid was just another youngster with aspirations of making it in the game.
Aged just seven, he began playing for his local club – Club Futebol Andorinha, before he tried his luck with Club Desportivo National.
But in truth, because of an impoverished background, Ronaldo expected he'd be just another poor fisherman from his village.
Ronaldo told Portugual’s Canal 11 last year: “When I was little I thought that at 35 I would be fishing in Madeira.
“But it was not cane, which costs a lot, it was thread on the finger.
“It never crossed my mind to play where I played and win what I won.”
DRIVEN TO SUCCEED
A strong work ethic got Ronaldo where he is today, and he's never been afraid to get his hands dirty.
Once, a teenage Ronaldo, who earns £500,000-per-week at Juventus, was snapped sweeping the streets in his neighbourhood – a picture that went viral on social media.
The youngest of four children, he was born to Maria Dolores dos Santos, a cook, and Jose Dinis Aveiro, an alcoholic ex war vet.
However, when his mother felt pregnant with him she gave serious consideration to aborting her baby.
“He is a child that I wanted to abort," Maria admitted in the documentary 'Ronaldo'.
"God didn’t want that to happen and I was blessed because of that and God didn’t punish me.
“Sometimes Ronaldo makes fun of me and says ‘You didn’t want me to be born. But now you see that I’m here helping all of you.’ And, well, sometimes we have a laugh about that."
FATHER AND SON
Ronaldo has said in the past his biggest regret is his father missing his meteoric rise.
Aveiro died in 2005 of liver failure, when Ronaldo was just 20 – just two years into his career at Old Trafford.
“I really don’t know my father 100 per cent,” Ronaldo said on ITV’s Cristiano Ronaldo Meets Piers Morgan.
“He was a drunk person. I never spoke with him, like a normal conversation. It was hard.
“To be the number one and he don’t see nothing, and he don’t see to receive awards, to see what I became.”
When Ronaldo played for his first youth team Andorinha, his dad, who wore scars from a needless war to prevent the colony of Angola winning its independence from Portugal, worked as a kit man.
He was tasked with tidying up the dressing rooms and had to make sure all the players had their kits washed.
He got the job because Ronaldo played for the side, but his son was taunted by his teammates because his dad held such a poor job, that supplemented his earnings as a gardener.
In 1997, when Ronaldo was 12, he went on a three-day trial to Sporting Lisbon.
They signed him for a paltry £1,500, and he lived with roommate Miguel Paixao, his best friend to this day, in a small room at a hostel in the city.
Once, when the pair were sat on their beds watching a Real Madrid match, Ronaldo told Miguel of his ambitious plan.
"I'll play there one day," he insisted as his mate laughed off his claim.
"I'm serious, one day I'll wear that shirt."
And Ronaldo, who pushes his body to extremes to keep himself at a level we're now accustomed to seeing, had quirky fitness traits even then.
"In the street by the hostel, cars had to stop at the traffic lights and he ran to see who was the fastest – himself or the car," Paixao told Marca.
Those early beginnings were the making of Ronaldo, who signed for the Red Devils aged just 18 for £12.25m.
But even then, we couldn't have imagined the phenomenon he became.
Arguably, the GOAT.
Source: Read Full Article