Cristiano Ronaldo: 18 amazing stories that will change your mind about the Juventus and Portugal superstar forever

CRISTIANO RONALDO has a reputation as one of football's most vain players.

As well as earning £500,000-a-week at Juventus, the preening forward has rich contracts with Nike, Electronic Arts and Herbalife, as well as his own range of CR7 clothes, shoes and underwear.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 18 amazing stories that will change your mind about the Juventus and Portugal superstar forever16 Cristiano Ronaldo is the world's richest athlete – and he is also one of the most generousCredit: AFP or licensors

His years of success at Real Madrid and last season at Juventus have made the Portuguese one of the most divisive athletes in the world.

Adored by his fans for his ridiculous skill and achievement, Ronaldo also has an army of critics who hate his petulant behaviour and obsession with appearance and brand.

But while many deride Ronaldo for his antics on the pitch, few know of his charity work off of it.

Here are 18 reasons why Ronaldo has one of the biggest hearts in all of sports.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 18 amazing stories that will change your mind about the Juventus and Portugal superstar forever16 Ronaldo was this week seen enjoying himself on a yacht off the French RiveriaCredit: Splash News
1) His European Golden Boot

In 2011, Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the European golden boot after scoring 40 goals under Jose Mourinho, although Los Blancos could only finish second in La Liga and crashed out at the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Rather than keep the award in his already packed trophy room – Ronaldo opted to sell it for charity.

The boot went on sale at auction and raised a stunning £1.2million.

The funds went towards building a number of schools in war-torn Gaza.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 18 amazing stories that will change your mind about the Juventus and Portugal superstar forever16 Cristiano Ronaldo sold his European Golden Boot at a charity auction – raising £1.2million to build schools in GazaCredit: EPA
2) The Ballon d'Or

Ronaldo repeated the trick of selling off one of his trophies in October, selling off his 2013 Ballon d'Or trophy at a charity auction in London.

The gala dinner, to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation – which grants wishes to children with life-threatening and terminally-ill childen – was a roaring success.

Ronaldo's Ballon d'Or made a massive £530,000 for the organisation.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 18 amazing stories that will change your mind about the Juventus and Portugal superstar forever16 The Real Madrid star also sold off his 2013 Ballon d'Or in October, raising another £530,000 for the Make-A-Wish FoundationCredit: EPA
3) An ambassador

Ronaldo continues to use his global platform as a force for good.

He is an ambassador for three major charities, Save the Children, Unicef and World Vision, and has spoken up for countless more.

At his 2014 Ballon d'Or speech, Ronaldo made a point of mentioning a group of children he had met with leukemia.

He has continued to speak out in those roles.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 18 amazing stories that will change your mind about the Juventus and Portugal superstar forever16 The Portuguese is a vocal ambassador for a number of different charities, including Save the Children and UnicefCredit: Wenn

Last year, he recorded a message to the children affected by the Syrian conflict, calling them "true heroes" and stating "I am with you".

He also made a secret donation which he asked Save the Children not to reveal.

Ronaldo's Ice Bucket Challenge video – the viral sensation that raised hundreds of millions of pounds in 2014 – was seen by more than a hundred million people across his social media platforms.

4) Win bonuses

Ronaldo has also been very generous with giving up money earned from his exceptional performances on the pitch.

In 2013 he was named in the Uefa Team of the Year – earning a €100,000 (£89,000) bonus from the European governing body.

But rather than cash the cheque, he donated it to the Red Cross.

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A year later the Portuguese star led Real Madrid to La Decima, their tenth Champions League victory, and picked up a £450,000 bonus from Los Blancos.

But Ronaldo again decided against cashing the money, instead sharing it among the three charities he is an ambassador for, Unicef, World Vision and Save the Children.

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