Cristiano Ronaldo received the MARCA Legend award on Monday evening for his outstanding achievements in the world of football.
The Juventus and Portugal forward is regarded as the greatest player of all time by some, and there are plenty of factors that make him and his career completely unique.
Having grown up on the island of Madeira, Ronaldo joined Sporting CP in 2001. His heart condition nearly forced him to retire aged 15 but, after the death of his father, nothing would spot him from achieving his dreams.
Ronaldo’s lifestyle has given him a longevity like no one else in his footballing career. He doesn’t drink alcohol; he doesn’t smoke; he recovers from matches in temperatures of 200 degrees below zero; and he has a body fat percentage of between seven and eight percent. A study in 2018 showed that the 34-year-old had the biological age of a 23-year-old and that he would be able to continue playing into his forties.
All these sacrifices have seen him score 602 goals and provide 210 assists in 803 matches in his career, since making his senior debut for Sporting aged 17.
Ronaldo is the top scorer in Champions League history (127), the top scorer in Real Madrid’s history (451), the top scorer in Club World Cup history (seven), the joint-top scorer in European Championship history with Michel Platini (nine), the top scorer in European qualifying (50), and the second-top scorer in international football history (88) behind Ali Daei (109).
He’s also won five Ballon d’Ors, the most in history alongside Lionel Messi, four European Golden Boots, seven Champions League top-scorer awards, three LaLiga top-scorer awards, one Premier League Golden Boot and the Puskas Award in 2009.
Ronaldo broke on to the world scene with Manchester United and played alongside the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Roy Keane under Sir Alex Ferguson, who toughened him up after arriving from Portugal. While at Old Trafford, he won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, a Community Shield, a Champions League title and a Club World Cup.
He then moved on to Real Madrid and there, the forward won two LaLiga Santander titles, two Copa del Rey trophies, two Supercopas de Espana, four Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups and three Club World Cups.
Ronaldo also won Serie A during his first season at Juventus to become the first player in history to win first division league titles in England, Spain and Italy. He also scored the winner against AC Milan in the Supercoppa Italiana.
With his country, Ronaldo led Portugal to their first ever major trophy with victory in the European Championship in 2016 before captaining the team to UEFA Nations League glory in 2019.