Walking along the cobblestone Avenida Sá Carneiro, in Funchal, on the way to CR7 Museum, you’ll see more than a few football fans wearing the number 7 shirt. The truth is that Cristiano Ronaldo is not like any other footballer. People who visit Madeira often ask if he will show up at the hotel, by the field he played on as a child, and what his favorite dishes are. The best football player in the world is a true ambassador for Portugal and for Madeira in particular. And he continues to show pride in his roots, to the point of bringing all of his trophies together on the island on which he was born.
But CR7 Museum is not just a collection of the more than 300 medals and trophies he has won so far. Guide Nuno Mendes has been working here since the museum opened in 2013 and explains its main attractions better than anyone else.
Why did the museum open?
It was Cristiano Ronaldo’s brother, Hugo Aveiro, who had the idea of creating a Museum after one of his many visits to the football star’s home when he lived in Madrid. “The house was full of trophies. And Ronaldo said yes to the idea. It would be a great way to share them with the fans,” Nuno says. The museum has already had more than 300 thousand visitors.
How it all began
The origins of a legend. The shirts of the clubs he played for as a child: the blue of Andorinha and the black and white of Nacional da Madeira. His first trophy, already slightly worn, which he won at 8 years-old. His significant move to Sporting, on the mainland, at the age of 12. And his proud transfer to Manchester United at the age of 18. “We have the shirts of all the clubs he has played for. And we have a big touch screen with his best moments, family photos and videos, organized by dates, teams, and clubs.” Starting from the first goal to the famous bicycle, these are some of the almost 700 goals scored to date.
Real or fake?
“One of the most frequently asked questions is whether the trophies are originals or copies”, the guide tells us. In reality, they are both. The individual trophies are originals – Golden Ball, Golden Boots, and many medals. The team trophies are copies – everything CR7 won with Real Madrid, Manchester United or Portuguese teams.
The most important trophy
To Cristiano Ronaldo, the most important trophy, without a doubt, is the Euro Cup won in France in 2016. The replica can be seen right at the museum’s entrance. “Ronaldo himself expressed great joy, it was the first time Portugal had won this trophy. Even though it was a team trophy, he said it was the most important one of his career, and he is very proud and patriotic”, the guide tells us. A giant screen allows us to relive those “special moments at the end of the Euro when Ronaldo played under Fernando Santos,” the team’s coach.
The most photographed
Two wax sculptures, made to scale, one with a Juventus kit and the other with the Portuguese kit. And the multimedia system that allows interactive photos to be taken with Cristiano Ronaldo, or holding the European Cup, or the Golden Ball, or the European Golden Shoe.
The most interesting items
The football boots he wore in the most important games are also on display. “There are people who want to buy them, others want to wear them”, says Nuno Mendes. We can also see the boots CR7 wore when he scored a hat-trick or poker, signed and dated by the whole team. And “the Manchester United shirt, when he won the last Champions League; the shirt with which he played against the Swedish National Team here on the island of Madeira, the first time he played on the island where he was born; the shirt he wore in the Champions League finals; and the shirt he wore in those 25 minutes of the Euro Final in France. “These are the original shirts, which are special to Ronaldo.”
A space for fans
There are oil paintings, letters from all over the world, extraordinary handmade pieces. “For example, a souvenir from Bali, Indonesia, carved from wood with his name on it.” Fans “ask for autographs, praise his skill, want to meet him, invite him to go to their house,” Nuno concludes. “Obviously, Ronaldo can’t read all the letters, but he has a team that works for him and when there are special requests, he replies or fulfills the request.” In the museum’s guestbook, many praise the football star. Whenever a guestbook comes to an end, Hugo Aveiro takes it to his brother’s house, where all the compliments, written in all languages by people from all countries, are a source of joy and motivation.