30 Reasons To Love Ronaldo As He Turns 30

Despite feeling like he’s been around forever, Cristiano Ronaldo turns just 30 today. He’s been much-maligned throughout his career, attracting criticism for his arrogance, on-field antics and his rampant egotism.

However, he’s not a bad fella really, is he? He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but here’s 30 reasons – both off and on the field – to admire the Real Madrid superstar.

1. After the 2004 tsunami, Ronaldo raised funds for the reconstruction of Aceh in Indonesia, having spotted a survivor wearing a Portugal shirt with his number 7 on it.

2. He remained in contact with the young Indonesian, giving him his phone number and calling him his “adopted son”.

3. In 2012, he paid for experimental drugs for a nine-year-old boy suffering from cancer of the spine.

4. In 2014, Ronaldo was contacted by the parents of a 10-month-old Spanish boy to donate a signed football shirt to raise funds for a life-saving brain operation. Instead, he paid for the £50,000 operation and ongoing treatment.

5. His zig-zag style haircut during last year’s World Cup was in honour of the boy, who had similar scars following the operation.

6. He’s that rare breed of footballer without any tattoos – as he donates blood regularly.

7. In 2012, he raised over £1 million for a Palestinian school in Gaza by selling a Golden Boot won the previous year.

8. During his 2013 Ballon d’Or acceptance speech, he mentioned a group of leukemia patients after promising to do so.

9. He’s donated £100,000 to a hospital in his birthplace of Madeira, where his mother’s life was saved in 2009.

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11. He’s an ambassador for FIFA’s ’11 for Health’ programme ,which raises awareness amongst children of how to avoid the likes of drug addiction, HIV, malaria and obesity.

12. Even Roy Keane likes him, which is high praise indeed. In his latest autobiography, Keane said he “liked him straight away. He had a nice presence about him and a good attitude”.

13. He’s the fastest player to reach both 200 La Liga goals and 200 goals for Real Madrid.

14. He’s got the most La Liga hat-tricks ever, with 23.

15. While most players are past their peak when they turn 30, Ronaldo’s a machine that can seemingly play for years to come and wants to retire when he’s 40.

16. He’s still got that hunger, despite all his achievements. When asked at the recent Ballon d’Or ceremony what was the most important goal of his career, he replied “the next one”.

17. Despite a recent red card, Ronaldo has worked hard to cut out the diving and theatrics that overshadowed his early career.

18. In 2013 he shunned a UEFA prize-giving ceremony as he wanted to play in a charity match to raise funds for cash-stricken Deportivo la Coruna.

19. He’s scored over 50 goals in the last four seasons, and is well on course to do so again.

20. He was the first player ever to win all four main PFA and FWA awards during his time with Manchester United.

21. He invited a young Polish Real Madrid fan, who awoke from a coma listening to commentary of Ronaldo scoring for Portugal, to Spain for a game against Borussia Dortmund.

22. He became a bone marrow donor after witnessing the struggles of team-mate Carlos Martins’ child.

23. He became a Global Ambassador for Save The Children after discovering one in seven kids around the world go to bed hungry every night.

24. He’s matured. He immediately apologised for his recent red card for kicking out at Cordoba’s Edimar, whereas years ago he’d have blamed everyone but himself. “I apologise to everyone and especially Edimar for my thoughtless action in today’s game”.

25. His talents have wowed even the greatest of footballers. Before his death, George Best said “There have been a few players described as the new George Best over the years, but this is the first time it’s been a compliment to me”.

26. He takes his fitness seriously and was deemed the Fittest Footballer in the World by Sports Illustrated magazine and Fittest Man Alive by Men’s Health magazine last year.

27. Despite his glittering achievements, he’s still ambitious. He’s stated that he wants to win another Champions League with Real Madrid, win La Liga this season and break his own goalscoring records.

28. He’s more appreciative of team work than earlier in his career. He’s often praised by current and ex-colleagues for his help and advise with their careers and bought each of his Madrid team-mates a £6,500 watch to thank them for being “amazing” last year.

29. Only yesterday, he was voted the best Premier League player ever.

30. He’s the only player to score 60 or more goals in a calendar year four times.