Cristiano Ronaldo Pleaded With Madonna to Snub Benfica Offer in Favour of Sporting

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Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo pleaded with American singer Madonna to ignore an offer from Portuguese side SL Benfica, who wanted to sign her adopted son, in favour of a move to Lisbon rivals Sporting CP, according to AS.

David Banda, 11, joined Benfica over the summer despite Ronaldo's wishes that he'd join Sporting's academy. There is a great emphasis on youth development in Portugal, with both Sporting and Benfica the pacemakers in churning out young prospects.

Ronaldo joined the academy at Sporting CP in 1997, having spent the previous four years at CD Nacional and C.F. Andorinha. He spent six years at Sporting before making a €19m move to Manchester United.

Working under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, Ronaldo quickly became a star of world football and the Portuguese winger earned his €94m move to Real Madrid in 2009.

Although Sporting are perhaps in the driving seat in terms of youth development in Lisbon, with the likes of Gelson Martins their most notable youngster destined for greatness, Benfica are looking to claw their way back and challenge their local rivals for young stars in the future.