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Rediff.com  » Sports » Happy Birthday, Ronaldo! A nice human and footballer par excellence

Happy Birthday, Ronaldo! A nice human and footballer par excellence

Last updated on: February 05, 2014 15:44 IST

Happy Birthday, Ronaldo! A nice human and footballer par excellence

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Real Madrid and Portugal’s football star turns 29 today.

The striker, who recently won the Ballon d’Or, didn’t have the greatest weekends in the run-up to his big day, having been sent off during Real’s 1-1 La Liga draw at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

That tiny blip aside, CR7, as he is fondly known by fans, has had a spectacular season.

As the handsome Portuguese rings in his 29th birthday, Rediff.com brings you all the exciting moments from the ace footballer's life in the last year.

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Image: Cristiano Ronaldo
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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The highlight for Ronaldo was obviously him winning the Ballon D’Or in January.

Having won it in 2008, Barca’s Lionel Messi pipped him to the prize in the previous four seasons (2009, '10, '11, '12).

Earlier, thanks to Ronaldo’s hat-trick, Portugal booked a spot in the 2014 World Cup when they knocked out Ibrahimovic’s Sweden 4-2 on aggregate in the qualifiers.

This result not only saw him take home World Soccer magazine's Player of the Year honour but also raised comparisons with late Portugal great Eusebio da Silva.

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Image: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo holds his trophy after being awarded the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013 in Zurich in January
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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Happy Birthday, Ronaldo! A nice human and footballer par excellence

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When away from the football field, Ronaldo spends his energy and monetary resources on philanthropic work. He is widely known to have given away his golden boot to raise money for Palestinian children a couple of years ago.

Last March, he agreed to be the ambassador for The Mangrove Care Forum in Indonesia, an effort to raise awareness to the Indonesian and international community of the importance of conserving biodiversity and ecosystem of mangroves in the South Bay of Benoa, Bali.

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Image: Cristiano Ronaldo (left), who plays for Real Madrid and Portugal's national soccer team, gestures as he sits next to a handicapped man, invited by conference organisers as a guest, during the eighth Dubai International Sports Conference, in Dubai on December 28, 2013
Photographs: Mohammed Omar/Reuters

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Happy Birthday, Ronaldo! A nice human and footballer par excellence

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In December last year, through Twitter he helped a cancer-affected kid find a bone-marrow donor.

The Portugal striker’s soft side was also seen when he personally intervened in the case of Ronald Gjoka, a Canadian who faced charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing. The 20-year-old college student jumped out of the stands, ran onto the field and hugged Ronaldo during an exhibition match in Miami in August -- the incident in the second half of the International Champions Cup match between Real and Chelsea.

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Image: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid
Photographs: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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Happy Birthday, Ronaldo! A nice human and footballer par excellence

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Late last year, Ronaldo unveiled a museum in his honour. When the CR7 Museum was opened in his birthplace Madeira, Ronaldo told reporters it was a gift to his fans.

'Of course it's a special day,' the Portugal forward, who has scored 33 goals so far this season, said.

'I have room for more trophies. I don't really want to mention specific ones. All I want is to win more awards and if the Ballon d'Or comes, there is extra room here.'

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Image: Real Madrid and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, poses with his statue during the inauguration of his CR7 museum in his birthplace Funchal in Portugal on Sunday. Ronaldo opened a museum in his honour
Photographs: Duarte Sa/Reuters

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There were also a few lows when Ronaldo was accused of cheating on his model girlfriend Irina Shayk with Brazilian model Andressa Urach.

A newspaper report had carried a story that Urach -- also known as Miss BumBum -- had claimed that she had a fumble with him that went on for hours.

The old Real Madrid star termed the story as fiction and forgery and that he was in an interview with another journalist at the time of the alleged encounter.

He went on to clarify on his Facebook account that he was deeply outraged by the situation that was intended, in vain, to affect his personal life.

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Image: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and his girlfriend Irina Shayk
Photographs: Juan Medina/Reuters

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Ronaldo also found a new ‘opponent’ in FIFA chief Sepp Blatter.

The Blatter-Ronaldo row blew up in October when Blatter, during a speech at the Oxford University Union in England, said Ronaldo resembled "a commander on the field of play".

The head of soccer's ruling body then rose from his chair and strutted on the stage in military fashion in apparent imitation of the player.

Blatter also said Ronaldo had "more expenses for the hairdresser than (Barcelona's Lionel Messi)", bringing an angry reaction from Ronaldo and Real.

The FIFA chief later apologised, saying he did not mean to cause offence.

Ronaldo later revealed that he had duly forgiven Blatter.

'The matter is in the past,' the Real Madrid star told a news conference ahead of the Ballon d'Or awards ceremony.

'We had a telephone conversation to clear up everything that had to be cleared up.'

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Image: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid
Photographs: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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