He began kicking a football when he was three, and when he started primary school at age six, his passion for the sport was obvious. His favourite boyhood team was SL Benfica even though he would later join their rival, Sporting. He first played for an amateur team, Andorinha, where hisfather was the kit man, when he was just eight years old. By 1995, at just ten years of age, Cristiano Ronaldo's reputation was growing in Portugal. Madeira's top two teams, CS Marítimo and CD Nacional were both interested in signing him. Marítimo, the bigger team, missed a crucial meeting with Rui Santos manager of Andorinha, and as a result Ronaldo signed for Nacional. After a title-winning campaignat Nacional, Ronaldo went on a three day trial with Sporting who subsequently signed him for an undisclosed sum.
Ronaldo joined Sporting's other youth players who trained at the Alcochete, the club's "football factory," where he received first-class instruction. Sporting realised that Ronaldo needed more support and arranged for his mother to join him. He made hisdebut for Sporting against Moreirense and scored two goals. He also featured for Portugal in the UEFA Under 17 Championships.
His performances at the UEFA Under 17 championship drew him to the attention of the wider football world. He was first spotted by former Liverpool F.C. manager Gérard Houllier at the age of 16. However, Liverpool later declined him because he was too young and needed sometime to develop into a top footballer. However he came to the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2003, when Sporting Clube de Portugal beat Manchester United 3–1 in the inauguration of the Alvalade XXI stadium in Lisbon. Ronaldo demonstrated his ability to play on both wings. After the match, United's players spoke enthusiastically of the young talent that they had just played against,saying they would rather have him in their team than play against him in the future.
Ronaldo made his international debut in August 2003, against Kazakhstan. He scored Portugal's only goal in their 2–1 loss to Greece in the opening match of Euro 2004 and the first goal of the semi final against the Netherlands, which Portugal won 2–1. The final saw a rematch of the opening game of the tournament,and again, Greece emerged victorious.
Ronaldo represented Portugal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, and was the second highest scorer in FIFA World Cup qualification in the European zone with 7 goals. As of 17 June 2005, he has scored 11 goals in 25 appearances for his country.
Ronaldo scored his first World Cup goal against Iran with a penalty kick.
In the Round of 16, he left Portugal's 1-0 winover Netherlands injured after a high tackle by Khalid Boulahrouz.
Ronaldo was named the national team captain for the first time in a friendly match against Brazil on February 6, 2007, a day after his 22nd birthday. This move was in honor of Carlos Silva, the Portuguese Football Federation president who had died two days before. Scolari explained, "Mr Silva asked me to make him captain as agesture. He thought the English fans would give him a difficult time and this was a response. He is too young to be captain, but Mr Silva asked me, and now he is no longer with us.
Ferguson decided that he wanted the youngster for his team, who were in the market for a right-sided midfielder with the departure of David Beckham to Real Madrid; Ronaldo was signed for a fee of £12.24 million. He made...