WHEELER: For all of Ronaldo's success, family has always come first

CHRIS WHEELER: For all Cristiano Ronaldo has achieved, family has ALWAYS come first… he’s embraced fatherhood with open arms and losing a son is a crushing blow

  • Cristiano Ronaldo’s newborn son has died, the footballer revealed on Monday
  • The 37-year-old announced in October 2021 that he was expecting twins with his partner Georgina Rodriguez, 28
  • A statement from the couple confirmed the death of their baby boy as ‘the greatest pain’, but said their baby girl survive 
  • When Cristiano Ronaldo’s pregnant partner Georgina Rodriguez revealed the gender of their twins in December, she decided to post a video on social media.

    Ronaldo’s sons Cristiano Junior and Mateo burst a blue balloon filled with confetti and shouted ‘It’s a boy!’ in Portuguese, while his daughters Eva and Alana burst a pink balloon and shouted ‘It’s a girl!’ as Georgina giggled behind the camera.

    The clip seems especially poignant after Ronaldo confirmed the heart-breaking news that his baby boy has not survived.

    Cristiano Ronaldo revealed in a message on social media that his newborn son has died

    Cristiano Ronaldo revealed in a message on social media that his newborn son has died 

    Ronaldo in a joint message with girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez said they were 'devastated by the loss' and only the birth their baby girl gives them the 'strength to live at this moment'

    Ronaldo in a joint message with girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez said they were ‘devastated by the loss’ and only the birth their baby girl gives them the ‘strength to live at this moment’

    Losing a child is a crushing blow for any parent and certainly one as family orientated as Ronaldo.

    ‘I have millions and billions but the most important thing is family,’ he said in a recent interview.

    ‘Keep your family healthy and take care of them because this is the most important thing in the world.’

     

    As a football icon, Ronaldo will always divide opinion among fans of different clubs. Only last week in these pages, he was criticised for smashing the phone of an autistic teenager after Manchester United’s game at Everton.

    But away from the pitch and the spotlight, the 37-year-old has embraced fatherhood with open arms, as you would expect from someone who learned to appreciate the meaning of family from a very early age.

    The youngest of four children raised in poverty on the island of Madeira, he flew on his own to mainland Portugal at the age of 12 to join Sporting Lisbon and cried every day for the first year because he missed home so much.

    His mother Dolores, a matriarchal figure who has been the dominant force in Ronaldo’s life, flew over to watch him play but needed sedating because she would become so nervous that she passed out. His father Jose Dinis Aveiro was a heavy drinker who died from the effects of alcoholism at the age of 53 in 2005, when Ronaldo was 20 and two years after he arrived at Manchester United.

    His brother Hugo has also battled alcohol and substance abuse.

    Ronaldo divides opinions on the pitch but off it he has embraced fatherhood with open arms

    Ronaldo divides opinions on the pitch but off it he has embraced fatherhood with open arms

    For all of his success on the pitch, family has always come first for the Portuguese superstar

    For all of his success on the pitch, family has always come first for the Portuguese superstar

    Ronaldo seemed to have his heart set on a big family of his own. Cristiano Junior was born in June 2010, although his mother’s identity has never been revealed.

    Twins Eva and Mateo arrived in June 2017 via a surrogate mother, and Georgina gave birth to Alana in November 2017.

    Speaking about family in an interview that year, Ronaldo opened up on the joys of fatherhood and in particular the memories he would share with Cristiano Junior, now 12, who followed in his dad’s footsteps two months ago by officially signing for United.

    ‘When you are a father, it is a completely different feeling, a feeling that I cannot describe,’ he said.

    The Manchester United star announced in October 2021 that he was expecting twins

    The Manchester United star announced in October 2021 that he was expecting twins

    ‘There is a moment with my son that I will always remember so clearly. When I think about it, I feel warm.

    ‘It was the moment on the field after Real Madrid won the last Champions League final in Cardiff (against Juventus in 2017). We made history that night. When I was on the pitch after the final whistle, it felt like I had sent a message to the world. But then my son came on the field to celebrate with me and it was like the snap of a finger. Suddenly, the entire emotion changed.

    ‘We held the trophy together. Then we walked around the field, hand in hand. It is a joy that I did not understand until I was a father.

    ‘I had a special message engraved on my new boots. It’s right on the heel, and the words are the last thing that I read before I lace up my boots and go to the tunnel: the dream of the child. Maybe now you understand.’