What Languages Does Cristiano Ronaldo Speak?

Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably one of the greatest soccer players in history, certainly in the top three, at any rate, has had a truly stellar career in top-flight soccer.

A career spanning two decades certainly helps a player’s overall stats, but Ronaldo has a scoring record that many teams are envious of, let alone individual players. While the stats are impressive, having played in so many different countries, his language skills are now almost as impressive.

How many languages does Cristiano Ronaldo speak? Cristiano Ronaldo speaks four languages. He speaks Portuguese, English, and Spanish fluently, and understands Italian well, but prefers to speak in other languages.

What Languages Does Cristiano Ronaldo Speak?

LanguageRonaldo’s Speaking Skills
PortugueseNative Speaker
EnglishFluent
SpanishFluent
ItalianLimited

Having played in four of the best top-flight leagues in world soccer, Ronaldo has amassed a frankly ridiculous haul of over 800 goals for his club and country.

Having played in his native Portugal, with Sporting CP, until his move to Manchester United in 2003 at the age of 18, Ronaldo spent six trophy ladEn years at the British club before a much-hyped move to Real Madrid in 2009.

An incredibly productive nine years followed for the world’s most famous soccer player, where he scored more than a goal a game for the Spanish giants, a staggering 311 goals in 292 appearances.

A surprising yet lucrative move to Juventus, the most successful team in Italian history, materialized in 2018, where Ronaldo again scored seemingly at will before an acrimonious ending to his Italian adventure meant a fairytale return to Manchester United in 2021.

While Ronaldo has always spent a few seasons at each of his clubs, he has, until his return to Manchester, always seemed keen to try new cultures, new footballing styles, and new languages.

Having played for four clubs in four countries, Ronaldo has had to adapt to both the new home, new teams, and new cultures he has immersed himself in and has always taken steps to learn the language of his new home.

Starting at his boyhood club, Sporting, we can see Cristiano Ronaldo’s commitment to learning, his willingness to relocate and absorb himself in a foreign culture, and his ability to learn new languages wherever he has played. Let’s see what languages the world’s greatest player has in his locker.

Portuguese

  • Ronaldo’s Native Language

As a native of Portugal, Ronaldo is of course fluent in his native tongue, born in Madeira in Portugal in 1985, and starting his youth career in 1992.

After moving to Sporting in 1997 and progressing through the ranks to the first team by the age of 18, Ronaldo was spotted by Manchester United in a friendly tournament in which he subsequently tore the Manchester team apart.

Cristiano has always been proud to show off his Portuguese roots, and as his countries most capped player of all time, currently at 184 caps with 115 goals, has always shown a great commitment to his nation. The Portugal legend speaks the language like a native and looks like donning the national shirt for some time yet.

Here’s Ronaldo Speaking Portuguese:

Ronaldo always speaks Portuguese with a little more passion. He talks much slower in English, Spanish and Italian interviews.

English

  • Ronaldo Speaks English Fluently

After being spotted by Manchester United while they were on tour in Portugal, the Manchester players praising the Portuguese winger so much that the club bought him almost immediately, Ronaldo moved to England in 2003.

Kept out of the spotlight for some time, and especially as he had an affinity for diving in his early career, Sir Alex Ferguson ensured that his pacy prodigy kept his feet firmly on the ground as he was taught how to improve his game, something he did quickly.

Rapidly becoming one of the best players in the Premier League, Ronaldo also embraced his move abroad and has a very commendable grasp of English.

While still retaining his Portuguese accent, Ronaldo is able to be fully conversant in English and has given many press conferences in the language.

It is a testament to his desire to learn that Ronaldo picked up the language so quickly, there are many players today that while plying their trade in foreign climes for years at a time, can speak virtually none of the language of their new country.

Having moved back to Manchester after over a decade away from the club, Ronaldo is still as fluent in English as he was in his first spell with the club, and has shown his usual flair for speaking out when he feels his teammates have not been playing to his required standard.

Here’s Ronaldo Speaking English:

While Ronaldo doesn’t sound like a native English speaker, he’s still very fluent.

Spanish

  • Ronaldo Speaks Spanish Fluently

After 6 seasons with Manchester United, the stage was set for arguably the best player on the planet to go to arguably the biggest club on the planet. And at Real Madrid, Ronaldo went from strength to strength.

The pace of the league suited him, the culture was of course similar to his native Portugal, and his grasp of the language quickly became completely proficient. Aside from the similarities to his native language, Ronaldo had 9 seasons in which to become a fluent Spanish speaker.

Given that Manchester United had agreed to sell Ronaldo to the Madrid giants well in advance of the actual sale, it is likely that Cristiano had already been brushing up on his Spanish before arrival, but by the end of his stay in Spain, had become fully fluent in the language.

Given the way Ronaldo took La Liga by storm, one of the words he probably said most was ‘gol’ as he scored a little over a goal a game in his 292 appearances for the club. In 2018 Cristiano Ronaldo left Madrid and moved to Italy, where he played from 2018-2021 for the Turin powerhouse Juventus. Another club, another country, and another language to learn.

Here’s Ronaldo Speaking Spanish:

It’s hard to understand that Spanish isn’t Ronaldo’s native language, he’s so comfortable in all his Spanish interviews.

Italian

  • Ronaldo’s Speaks and Understands Italian, but his skills are limited

Italian soccer has seen some of the true greats of world soccer over the years and despite a decline in stature since its heyday of the 1980s and 1990s, has remained one of the best leagues around.

Unable to compete with the financial clout of the Premier League or the European cup domination of Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, or the Galactico-strewn Real Madrid squad, the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus in 2018 raised the profile of the Seria A through the roof.

In peak physical condition, even in his early thirties, Ronaldo was a marquee signing.

And as is his usual method of play, he duly went on to score for fun in what has always been known as one of the best defensive leagues around.

Another culture, albeit not a million miles from Portugal or Spain, Ronaldo took to the Seria A like a duck to water.
What he didn’t do, however, was take to speaking Italian like a native.

While he can speak Italian comfortably, and understand it well, Ronaldo has tended to speak in interviews in Spanish or English, as he is more comfortable answering in those languages than Italian.

There are several examples of Cristiano Ronaldo speaking Italian well, but it is possible that in a more formal environment he would prefer not to be misunderstood, and so speaks in a language he is more proficient in.

When in less of a spotlight where he needs to be absolutely accurate, he can converse well with his Italian teammates.

Here’s Ronaldo Speaking Italian:

As you can see, he isn’t very comfortable speaking Italian, but still, props to him for making an effort.

Final Thoughts On Ronaldo’s Speaking Skills

It is worth noting that even 12 years after leaving Manchester for Spain, upon returning to England in 2021 to re-join Manchester United, Ronaldo has retained a very high standard of English, and has seamlessly moved back into the British culture.

Given that he is a Portuguese national that has lived and worked in both Spain and Italy over the past 12 years, it is a testament to his effort and language skills that he has maintained his grasp of the language. Do you still remember your high school French lessons?

Aside from us now knowing what languages Cristiano Ronaldo actually speaks, the standout point seems to be his complete passion for being the best he can be.

Not only is he one of the most outstanding athletes ever to play soccer, but he also immerses himself in the culture wherever he is.

Ronaldo learns the language, understands the history and psyche of his clubs, and continues to be the best in the world at what he does, in whatever language he speaks.

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired at the age of 21 due to injuries - which led me into a new career as a soccer coach.

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