It's not only in football where the Real Madrid player is a hero - his fame extends far beyond the pitch. A new documentary titled "Ronaldo" explores the phenomenon of the Portuguese star.
"CR7," as Ronaldo is affectionately known, is at the same time one of the most dazzling and polarizing players in the world. While his skills are universally admired, his extrovert nature and appearance earn the ire of many. His fans may lap it up, but he inspires envy in his most vehement critics.
"Hatred drives me forward," he told Spanish media, admitting to his tendency to overreact. This was also on open display in a recent interview with the magazine "Kicker," in which he made no secrets in his self belief that he was the best.
That such confidence comes naturally is no coincidence - Ronaldo has built an empire out of his image and personality. Here are examples of six off-field success stories for the footballer.
1. A galaxy for the Galactic Ronaldo
Ronaldo the star even has his very own galaxy. Well, at least in name. Researchers at the University of Lisbon discovered a group of stars earlier this year; they are thought to be over 13 billion years old and believed to have influenced the origins of life on earth. Inspired by the footballer's nickname, they named the galaxy CR7 - somewhat fitting, since the superstars of Real Madrid are known as "the Galactics." CR7 also stands for Cosmic Redshift 7, as the galaxy is officially known.
2. Immortalized in bronze
The man as a monument? If worthy in space it seems that CR7 is also worthy here on earth. At his birthplace on the island of Madeira, a 3.4 meter tall (6" 1') and 800 kilogram (1,764 pound) statue of Ronaldo was erected in 2014. The statue was funded by the Ronaldo Museum…which in turn is kept afloat by the footballer himself.
3. Ronaldo the brand
The hair always perfectly gelled, eyebrows perfectly plucked and skin perfectly tanned: Does Cristiano Ronaldo represent vanity? The footballer respects his aesthetic as much as his skill, and has launched his own fashion label called, you guessed it, CR7. The label produces underwear, shoes and shirts and starring in its publicity shots is none other than Ronaldo himself - half naked for the sake of high fashion, of course.
Of course, football and fashion are not new bedfellows. In the 1970s Günter Netzer mastered the unflappable blow-dry, while later Roberto Baggio took to dreadlocks, and David Beckham came to define the new metrosexual style for the new century. Beckham was naturally the template for Ronaldo's own marketing nous - including the recent launch of his own perfume.
4. CR7 and his clone
The young Dane Shanta Ronaldo wants to be just like his idol. But this doesn't mean just the usual apparel and hairstyle mimicking - no, Shanta takes it a few steps further, adopting Ronaldo's surname on social media, dressing identically, plus going to as many games and training camps as he possibly can. His passion for his idol is contagious, and his boundless obsession for the Portuguese star has earned him 16,000 followers on Twitter and 11,000 on Instagram.
5. The King of social media
For Ronaldo - at least - Shanta's numbers are mere peanuts. On social media Ronaldo is king. People may argue as to whether Lionel Messi or Ronaldo is the better player, but on social media the records speak for themselves: 107 million likes on Facebook to Messi's paltry 81 million. On Twitter, Ronaldo has a mind-boggling 35 million followers, and a smidgen more than that on Instagram. As such, advertisers recognize Ronaldo's immense outreach and influence. In 2014, the German firm Repucom once calculated the theoretical value of one Ronaldo post: a cool 115,000 euros ($124,000) - no doubt inflated once again in 2015.
6. Ronaldo, the movie
After being accompanied by British filmmaker Anthony Wonke, we now can enjoy some fascinating insights into the personal life of the glamorous Real Madrid superstar. Why Wonke, who is known for his films about war in Syria and Afghanistan, decided to portray a footballer was answered by the self-confessed football-fanatic in an interview with "Die Welt" newspaper: "I once made a film about athletes at the Olympic Games - these people who aspire to the highest, make the most of their bodies and aspire to be champions. That fascinates me." The film premiered on Monday, November 9, in London.