While Cristiano Ronaldo might better be known for his tenures with Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus, the global soccer star got his start at Sporting CP in his native country of Portugal.
On Monday, his former club announced that they will change the name of their youth academy in honor of the club’s biggest ever star.
Sporting CP, a Lisbon-based club with 18 Primeira Liga and 17 Portuguese Cup titles, has decided to christen their academy as the “Academia Cristiano Ronaldo” after seeing the success achieved by their best-ever academy product.
Ronaldo spent five years, from 1997 to 2002, as a youth player with Sporting CP. He only played one senior season with the club in 2002-03, scoring 3 goals in 25 games at the tender age of 17 before being sold to Manchester United for a $16 million fee.
Sporting explained its decision in a press release, stating, “The academy will thus immortalise the name of the greatest symbol ever formed [here] and that will be an inspiration to follow for all the young talents.”
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has become one of the most decorated players in the sport’s history, winning five Champions League trophies and countless domestic honors while starring for some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Ronaldo got off to a hot start to the 2020-21 season on Sunday, scoring a goal in Juventus’s 3-0 win over Sampdoria.