The human side of Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo is a lot nicer than people give him credit for (©GettyImages)

Cristiano Ronaldo received the FIFA Ballon d'Or last night, an honour which officially recognises him as the best footballer in the world for 2013.

Before the announcement, a lot of people on social media - particularly British people - say they don't like him because he's "horrible" or "arrogant", largely down to his infamous "wink" at the 2006 World Cup, and the fact he was playing for Manchester United when everyone hated them.

He hasn't helped this image by, allegedly, suggesting people are jealous of his success and good looks. Even FIFA President Sepp Blatter prefers "good boy" Lionel Messi.

But, there is a side to Ronaldo that no one talks about, it was being banded about last night that he was "finally showing his human side" because he cried on stage whilst receiving the ward.

The media rarely cover it to the extent they cover stories which portray him as arrogant or over-confident, nor does it get as much coverage as the alleged spat between him and Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

The Argentine is referred to as Ronaldo's "nemesis" and vice versa whenever the two are compared, but Messi called Cristiano a "worthy winner" of last night's Ballon d'Or, and the Portuguese superstar has said some complimentary words regarding his "arch rival".

In his long career, Ronaldo has provided innumerable moments where he has proven himself to be a good guy, but these moments tend to go unnoticed as the Ronaldo-hate-parade marches on. 

Firstly, back when he was a young man playing for Manchester United, Ronaldo was asked for his shirt when United travelled to Portugal for a Champions League tie with Benfica. Ronaldo promised his shirt to the young fans and ran to the changing rooms, re-emerging with a clean training shirt to give, and providing the fans with a moment they will never forget. Watch it here.

In 2004, following the Tsunami that devastated much of coastal Asia, a young boy called Martunis was saved after 19 days stranded. He had lost his mother and two brothers, but was reunited with his father in hospital. When he was found, he was wearing a Portugal shirt with Ronaldo's name on the back. Ronaldo flew to Indonesia to meet Martunis, and praised the "brave, beautiful and healthy boy" for his strength and maturity, handing him one of his Portugal shirts. The Portuguese FA helped to rebuild the boy's family home.

Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes met a 9-year-old boy with cancer, following a Real Madrid home game. The boy's parents could not afford to do anything more for their child and decided to make his dream come true by taking him to see Los Blancos. Upon meeting the boy, the two men offered to foot the medical bill so that the boy could get a consultation at one of Madrid's top medical facilities, and receive personalised medication from the United States.

Last summer saw the horrific train crash in Galicia, Spain. Ronaldo travelled to the region in order to donate blood to help survivors. This is also said to be one of the reasons why the Portuguese forward has no tattoos, so that he can regularly donate blood to help those in need. 

Later that summer, on a pre-season tour of America, a student invaded the pitch during a Real Madrid friendly against Chelsea in Miami. He ran to Ronaldo and hugged him, before being escorted away and threatened with criminal charges.

The charges would have jeopardised his college place and immigration situation, and subsequently ruined his career. Ronaldo personally wrote to the Miami-Dade County DA's office to try and help the fan out. The charges were eventually dropped. (Full transcript of the letter and video footage).

And finally, upon hearing a young fan named Jorge had been diagnosed with cancer, Ronaldo sent a signed photo to the boy's home. The Ballon d'Or winner then proceeded to phone the boy personally and invite him to watch Real Madrid take on Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu, from the comfort of the superstar's VIP box.

Jorge was given star treatment and got to meet Ronaldo's family and friends. During the match, Ronaldo netted his 400th career goal with a brace, and celebrated with a thumbs up towards the box, as well as dedicating his goals to the late Portuguese legend Eusebio.

The Real Madrid ace is a far nicer human being than many give him credit for.

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