"Buy that kid," Manchester United players told manager Alex Ferguson after an 18-year old Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, whose middle name allegedly honors Ronald Reagan, had torched Man U in a friendly in the summer of 2003. Ferguson obliged his players' wishes, shelling out some $20 million and handing Ronaldo the No. 7 jersey, previously worn by legends George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham. Ronaldo responded by outdoing all of the aforementioned in a six-year romp during which he scored 118 goals and won three Premier League titles, one Champions League and one Club World Cup, swiping 42 individual prizes, including the 2008 FIFA World Footballer of the Year, along the way. Last summer, Ferguson sold him to Real Madrid for a record $132 million. Ronaldo has become a lethal dribbler, superlative header and long-distance shooter and one of the better free-kick takers on the planet and will anchor an aging Portugal looking to shine one last time.
Scouting thumbnail: Explosive, pacy and an astonishingly prolific goal scorer for a winger. Specializes in long-range free kicks and shows the ability to shoot from anywhere.