Sporting rename academy after Ronaldo

Serie A

Cristiano Ronaldo has cemented his legacy as a football icon and Sporting Lisbon has now honoured him further by renaming their famed academy after him.

Ronaldo, 35, is widely considered as one of the greatest footballers of all time and graduated from Sporting's youth system before earning a move to the Premier League with Manchester United.

Having joined the LigaNos giants from Madeira-based outfit Nacional as a 12-year-old, Ronaldo thrived in the capital city before making his debut five years later.

"It's with great honour that Sporting Clube de Portugal announces that the club's academy will be renamed Academia Cristiano Ronaldo," read the official statement from Sporting.

"A good son returns home and the home that made Cristiano Ronaldo now welcomes his name in honour of the one who became the best Portuguese player of all time, the best player in the world, a five-time Ballon d'Or-winner and captain of [Portugal's 2016] European Championship and the [2019 UEFA] Nations League.

"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."

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Sir Alex Ferguson made Ronaldo the most expensive teenager of all-time in 2004 when he forked out £12.24-million to lure him from Portugal after he impressed against the Red Devils in a pre-season clash.

He went on to win three league titles, the UEFA Champions League and the 2008 Ballon d'Or before Real Madrid signed him in a world-record £80-million deal.

In eight years with Los Blancos he achieved legendary status by becoming the club's record goal-scorer and winning four Champions Leagues's and four more Ballon d'Or titles before departing for Juventus in 2018.

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