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50 Players to watch at the World Cup - No 3 Cristiano Ronaldo
Published : 09 Jun 2010 10:30:09
Our countdown of the 50 players to watch at this summer's World Cup reaches the final three, with Portuguese superstar Ronaldo the focus of our attention.
Name: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro
Club: Real Madrid
International caps: 72
International goals: 22
Born in Madeira, Portugal in 1985, Cristiano began his football career in the youth side of Andorinha before moving to Nacional and then onto Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon.
After just 25 games and three goals for Sporting, Ronaldo attracted the interest of Sir Alex Ferguson after playing against Manchester United in a pre-season friendly.
Fergie parted with £12.25 million to bring him to Old Trafford in the summer of 2003, giving him the famous number seven shirt previously worn by players such as George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.
He made his senior debut for United as a substitute in a 4-0 home win over Bolton in October, before scoring his first goal for the club against Portsmouth the following month.
After establishing himself in the first-team, he went on to score 84 goals in 196 games during six seasons in the north-west - winning the League Cup (2), FA Cup, Premier League (3), Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup in the process.
In the summer of 2009 he moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee of £80 million, going on to score an amazing 26 goals in 29 games during his debut season in Spain.
He made his senior debut for Portugal in 2003 and has so far netted 22 times from 72 games whilst appearing at Euro 2004, World Cup 2006 and Euro 2008.
Having been named captain by national coach Carlos Queiroz, there will be huge pressure on Ronaldo to reproduce his club form on the world stage in South Africa.