Known as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo officially scored a whopping 700 club goals over the course of his 20-year career earlier this month.
He scored the 700th club goal of his career for Manchester United on Oct. 9th, 2022, in a 2-1 victory over Everton.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Goal-Scoring Record
Throughout his impressive career, the 37-year-old athlete has scored:
- 450 goals for Real Madrid
- 144 for Manchester United
- 101 for Juventus
- 5 for Sporting Lisbon
While his record speaks for itself, the athlete is so much more than the No. 7 on his jersey. As a young kid, he faced extreme adversity in his childhood and showed an incredible amount of perseverance and drive to make it as a professional soccer player. Today, he’s committed to giving back with his wealth and influence. Here’s why we’re toasting to the man behind the jersey.
A Difficult Childhood
Born on February 5th, 1985, in Madeira, Portugal, Ronaldo had a difficult childhood. His family lived in poverty and Ronaldo had to share a single room with three siblings. His father struggled with alcohol misuse and the family was often hungry due to financial difficulties. As the youngest of four children, Ronaldo knew it was up to him to turn his life around.
He started playing soccer at 8 years old and quickly became determined to become a professional soccer player. Ronaldo left home at 12 years old for a short time to pursue soccer. Away from his parents and siblings, he was forced to look out for himself.
“When I was a kid, 11 or 12 years old, we had no money. I left my family for a period of three months, and it was very difficult. Late at night around 10:30 or 11:00 we would get a bit hungry. We had a McDonald’s next to the stadium where we lived so we would go to the backdoor and ask, ‘Hey, are there any burgers left?” Ronaldo recounted to Piers Morgan during a YouTube interview.
Ronaldo’s perseverance paid off, and he began his senior career with Sporting CP, before signing with Manchester United in 2003 when he was only 18 years old, winning the FA Cup in his first season.
Showing ‘Extreme Resilience’
Dr Becky Spelman, psychologist and clinical director of the Private Therapy Clinic, offered her perspective to The Sun on how Ronaldo’s difficult childhood motivated him.
“Extreme adversity in childhood can create extreme resilience in people and a determination to create a very different life for themselves,” she told The Sun. “Of course, we don’t always see this in every individual but certain personalities are prone to push past adversity… and we see this in Ronaldo.”
The ‘Greatest Individual Career in History’
Described as having the “greatest individual career in history” by The Mirror, a notable achievement of Ronaldo’s includes winning the Ballon d’Or five times, known as the greatest individual prize in soccer.
His salary, endorsements and brand deals have made Ronaldo the third-richest athlete in the world in 2022, earning $115 million between May 2021 and May 2022.
Cristiano Ronaldo Gives Back
While his money could buy him anything in the world, Ronaldo is known for using his wealth and influence to help others. Below are just a few notable examples of his generosity.
1. Handing Over Bonus Payments to Good Causes
In 2013, he was awarded $100,000 from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for being featured seven times on the uefa.com user’s Team of the Year. He donated the full amount to a physical rehabilitation program in Afghanistan, run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Ronaldo, who donated a similar amount to the ICRC in 2008, said in a statement: “For me it’s a great honour to be able to help others, and it makes me extremely happy to do so.”
2. Helping Hospitals During the Pandemic
In early 2020, he joined other athletes who gave back during the COVID-19 pandemic and donated lifesaving medical equipment to Portuguese hospitals.
3. Auctioning off Trophies for Charity
In 2017, Ronaldo gave back in a major way by auctioning off one of his Ballon d’Or trophies for £600,000, all of which he donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The soccer star understands the importance of giving back. He hopes his five children will grow up to be just as hard-working and generous as him.
“For this generation they have everything easy. They have computers, good food and a table. They don’t sacrifice a lot to get what they want. I want my kids to suffer a little to reach what he wants to reach,” he joked to Piers Morgan.
Lead image credit: Cristiano Ronaldo by dalli58 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.