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We need more Cristiano Ronaldo's in the world

In many cases, the old cliché of never meet your heroes, because they will let you down, is very true. So often many of the sports and film stars of today – and yesteryear – can never live up to the persona that they portrayed in the media or on the silver screen.

However, it seems Cristiano Ronaldo is an exceptions to the rule. In fact, the knock on the Portuguese soccer star has always been he is conceited, self-obsessed and vain.

Sure that is what has been depicted in the media by soccer supporters with a distaste for the flashy forward. Yet, many of the stereotypes that have been used to label the Real Madrid man seem inaccurate and reek of jealousy.

While many cannot see past the model good looks, soccer success and perfect smile, others that look deeper see a man that has used his wealth to help others less fortunate. In fact, Cristiano Ronaldo donated his €600,000 Champions League win bonus to charity earlier this year, showing his position as the 2015 world's most charitable sportsperson was no fluke.

Interestingly, with all the money in professional sports, WWE wrestler John Cena came second to Ronaldo. Lionel Messi nor any of America's richest athletes could compare to either Ronaldo or Cena as charitable sportspersons. Yet, Ronaldo is still spoken about with venom by so many that know very little about what he does off the field.
Cristiano Ronaldo soccer player

Ronaldo's desire to help people was shaped by his upbringing

Born on the Portuguese island of Madeira, Ronaldo didn't grow up wealthy. His family lived in a working-class area of the Funchal. It was the type of working-class neighborhood that mean you didn't eat or have a roof over your head if you didn't work. The people of the area helped to shape Ronaldo's tireless work rate as come rain, shine or illness, the population of the area went to work.

The youngest of four children, Ronaldo's father fought alcoholism for much of his life, while the future soccer star's mother worked as a cook and cleaner. The experiences helped prepare Ronaldo for his future, and seeing his father die of alcohol-related kidney problems at the age of 52, has helped to influence the Portuguese forward's charitable work.

His father's alcoholism has also influence the Real Madrid striker to abstain from alcohol, smoking or any other substance that could affect his body or performance. While some see his desire to live a straight edge lifestyle as arrogance, Ronaldo is actually a perfect role model for children. Perhaps it is growing up with a father dependent on alcohol that has given Ronaldo the impetus to work, not with children, but for them.

Just googling Ronaldo and charities displays a plethora of links to different articles about the Portuguese's work. He has donated millions of dollars to various charities in the hope of improving the lives of others. Amazingly, unlike many sports stars and celebrities, it seems little attention is made by his actions and he seeks out no media praise.

Recent charities Cristiano Ronaldo has given to

Ronaldo has been extremely active in his donations. Cristiano Ronaldo's net worth is estimated at $236 million, and with plenty of money to spare, he has worked hard to spread it to those desperately in need.

In 2015, following the Nepal earthquake that paralyzed the poverty stricken country, Ronaldo donated $6.6m to the relief fund. However, it isn't just major catastrophic events that have triggered him to open his checkbook.

Following his mother's battle with cancer, Cristiano Ronaldo donate around $165,000 to the cancer research center that treated her. He also paid $70,000 for a 10-month-old child to have a lifesaving operation. In addition, Ronaldo funded a nine-year-old child's cancer treatment and other medical expenses.

Charitable work isn't something new for the former Manchester United player. In a 2013 interview, Ronaldo spoke about his humanitarian work.

"My father always taught me that when you help other people, then God will give you double," Ronaldo said. "And that's what has really happened to me. When I have helped other people who are in need, God has helped me more."

Other notable donations

● The Euro 2016 winner donated his boots and a signed jersey for a 10-month-old boy needing brain surgery. In addition, Cristiano Ronaldo donated $83,000 to pay for the operation and follow-up treatments at $8,000 a visit. At the 2014 World Cup, despite receiving negative criticism for his "zig-zag" haircut, Ronaldo's style was actually inspired by the little boy.

● Ronaldo helped raise donations for the re-building of Aceh, Indonesia following a 2004 earthquake and tsunami.

● After selling his 2011 Golden Boot Award for $1.7m, he donated the money to Palestinian schoolchildren living in Gaza.

● Cristiano Ronaldo is a regular donor of blood. In a interview with Diretta News, he stated the reason he doesn't have any tattoos is so he can regularly donate blood.

While Ronaldo continues to receive grief from those in the never ending Messi-Ronaldo debate, or those that believe the Portuguese star is all pomp, perhaps their attitudes would change if they knew more about the man.

Ronaldo may have won numerous trophies, cups and awards, but his legacy should include the philanthropy work he has done. While his rival, Messi, was embroiled in a court trial over unpaid taxes during the summer of 2016, Ronaldo continued his work to help charities.

Yet, so many hold the Argentine up as the greatest on and off the pitch, while Ronaldo is reviled.

Ronaldo's work to help those in need has shown he is a man with a golden heart. The Real Madrid man has given so much to fans throughout his career, and with his kindness off the pitch, he continues to give much more.

By Drew Farmer, author of Soccer Travels


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