Ronaldo began his career as a youth player for Andorinha, where he played for two years, then moved to Nacional. In 1997, he made a move to Portuguese giants Sporting Clube de Portugal. Ronaldo's precocious talent caught the attention of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and he signed the 18-year-old for £12.24 million in 2003. The following season, Ronaldo won his first club honour, the FA Cup, and reached the UEFA Euro 2004 final with Portugal, in which tournament he scored his first international goal.
In 2008, Ronaldo won his first UEFA Champions League title, and was named player of the tournament. He was named the FIFPro World Player of the Year and the FIFA World Player of the Year, in adittion to becoming Manchester United's first Ballon d'Or winner in 40 years. Three-time Ballon d'Or winner Johan Cruyff said in an interview on 2 April 2008, "Ronaldo is better than George Best and Denis Law, who were two brilliant and great players in the history of United". He won the Ballon d'Or again in 2014.