Cloud is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy VII and he is the character that you will find yourself in control of for nearly the entire game. There is one point of the story where Cloud is taken out of your party (after the sequence in the Whirlwind Maze). Aside from that though, Cloud is required to be in your party at most times. With that said though, Cloud is the strongest character in the game, so you would want him to be in your party regardless.
Cloud attacks with a Sword weapon meaning that all of his attacks are melee. He should be placed in the front row for nearly all battles in the game (with a few notable exceptions for bosses).
He has the highest Strength and Magic stats. His lowest stat is his Dexterity or Speed stat, but even then, it is comparable to most of the other party members. There is no reason not to use him in your party, but you will pretty much be forced to use him anyway.
Cloud is able to equip all of the following weapons (Two-Handed Swords):
Buster Sword (Initial Weapon)
Check out the Limit Break section for more information on Cloud’s Limit Breaks.