A much-vaunted prodigy when snapped up by Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, Ronaldo is now perhaps, alongside Lionel Messi and David Beckham, the best-known player on the planet.
The FIFA World Player of the Year in 2008 and a winger who plundered an unbelievable 42 goals across all competitions in 2007-08, Ronaldo won all there was to win with the Red Devils and finally earned his dream move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 for a world record fee of £80 million as part of the new era of galacticos at the Bernabeu.
After blossoming under Sir Alex Ferguson at United, he had the chance to come of age at the 2006 World Cup, though one of the memorable images of the tournament was his wink at the bench after Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney was sent off in a game against England. He also came in for fierce criticism for diving, which resulted in him being booed at games and it cost him the Young Player of the Tournament award.
Still, love him or loathe him, it is hard to ignore his talent and his skills are almost beyond comparison in the world game. That said, Ronaldo has wrongs to right after he failed to dazzle at the 2010 World Cup, despite being tipped to be the shining star in South Africa.
He remains, though, prolific as ever for his club Real, the Portuguese earning the Pichichi as La Liga's top scorer in 2010-11, in the same season helping his club to Copa del Rey glory. Indeed, his prolific nature in front of goal did not spot there, as during the 2011-12 season he scored 46 La Liga goals to help fire Real to the Spanish title.
Strengths: Ronaldo will take on any defender with searing pace, and mesmerising footwork to boot. His ability to beat a player and whip in crosses makes him a feared opponent. Add to that the way his free-kicks swerve with pace and power and this winger would be an asset to any team, past and present.
Weaknesses: On occasion, he goes to ground far too easily which attracts the ire of supporters and sometimes tries a trick when a simple pass would do.
Career high: Winning the Champions League with Manchester United in 2008, and subsequently being named FIFA's World Player of the Year.
Career low: Losing to Greece in the final of Euro 2004 on home turf. His tears were caught on camera for all to see.
Style: Fast, tricky, strong, a mesmeric dribbler.
Quotes: "I have nothing but praise for the boy. He is easily the best player in the world. He is better than Kaka and better than Messi. He is streets ahead of them all. His contribution as a goal threat is unbelievable. His stats are incredible. Strikes at goal, attempts on goal, raids into the penalty box, headers. It is all there. Absolutely astounding." Sir Alex Ferguson, July 2009.
Trivia: Cristiano's name Ronaldo came from his father's favourite actor, Ronald Reagan.