The boy knew about the importance in football not only of personal skills, but also of relationships in the team, the ability to find mutual understanding with partners on the field, and attended training sessions with pleasure. From the very first days, he was distinguished from other guys by perseverance, brilliant possession of the ball, high speed and a passionate desire to win. FIRST STEPS IN BIG SPORT In 1995, the first transfer took place in the life of Cristiano. He was bought from the "Swallows" by the leading club of the island "Nacional", who paid for the transfer of the future world football star with several balls, a two-year set of boots and uniforms. Another city professional FC, Maritimo, also wanted to outbid the 10-year-old nugget, but preference was given to Nacional, where his godfather also moved. In the new team, nimble, thin and fearless Ronaldo grew rapidly in skill. Coaches exposed the talented ward to games with older rivals, which made him progress quickly, learn to think and react to situations with lightning speed. He was nicknamed "Abelinha" ("Bee") - for diligence and speed, as if on wings, moving across the field. By the age of twelve, he was already recognized as the best football player in Madeira.
In 1997, the young talent was sent to the capital FC Sporting for viewing. For the first time in his life, he then flew on an airplane (accompanied by his mother). But this circumstance did not concern him. He was excited about something else - the event itself, the chance to get into one of the best clubs in Portugal. And he did not miss it - he played brilliantly in a match with older players and was bought by the Lisbon youth academy for 22.5 thousand euros, despite his young age (to write off the debt of his previous club to Sporting). LISBON The first time in the capital, away from home, relatives and friends, 12-year-old Cristiano was not easy. He was bored, endured ridicule about his speech (the island dialect was different from Lisbon), cried into the phone and asked his mother to take him home. But a great desire to play and be the first helped him overcome all difficulties. All his free time, the restless boy worked out in the gym, trying to achieve the best results. Because of this, he often had to do his homework at night. Against the background of constant physical and moral stress, the character of Cristiano became explosive and irreconcilable. At the age of 14, he launched a chair at a mentor when he behaved, according to the football player, "disrespectfully." There was a case when Ronaldo could not cope with his emotions after his own unsuccessful performance and expressed his annoyance by defeating the dressing room. At the age of 15, the young athlete ended up on the operating table. His life was threatened by cardiac arrhythmia, fortunately detected in time. Doctors did not advise him to continue playing football professionally. Three days after the operation, the purposeful young man returned to training. He went down in the history of the club by showing unprecedented hard work and growth in skill - he became the only pupil who managed to play in one season for all the teams of the Lisbon Lions (as the Sporting players were called). Namely, for teams of boys under 16, under 17, under 18, as well as in doubles and in the main team. The debut performance of Cristiano Ronaldo for Sporting took place in 2001, when he was only 16 years old. He entered the field in the second half of a friendly match with the local Atlético FC and scored a goal on the move. In the same year, he brilliantly played for the national team in the European Junior Championship. At the age of 17, Ronaldo won the country's Super Cup, although he did not participate in the match then. Many leading clubs in Europe, including Barcelona, Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid, became interested in the talented debutant. One of the first "buyers" was Gerard Houllier of Liverpool FC. But the contract was offered to the football player not by him, but by Sir Alex Ferguson, the titled coach of the English Manchester United. This happened in 2003, when the Red Devils came to Portugal and played a friendly match with Sporting, unexpectedly losing 3-1. As a result of the transfer, the club then received about 15 million euros for him. 700 times more than he gave 6 years ago to Nacional.
Ronaldo's first goal for the English superclub came from a free-kick in the top 9 with no chance for the goalkeeper in a 3-0 win over Portsmouth in November. And in the spring of 2004, the fans of the "Red Devils" have already recognized him as the best player of the season, more than once applauding the young football genius standing. He ended the season scoring the winning goal against Millwall in the FA Cup Final and earning his first football trophy in Foggy Albion.
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