Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the world’s biggest sports stars, and his career shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Ronaldo has won the Ballon D’Or – an annual honour awarded to the best soccer player in the world – four times, an achievement second only to Argentinian star Lionel Messi who has won the award five times. Ronaldo is also a celebrity outside of the soccer pitch, with a huge following on social media. At the time this article was written, the Portuguese athlete had over 120 million likes on Facebook, 98.7 million followers on Instagram and 51.4 million followers on Twitter.
Ronaldo’s social media following played an important role in a significant revelation the athlete made in 2010. He took to Facebook to announce that he had fathered a son – a surprise announcement which took fans and observers aback. In particular, many were shocked that Ronaldo’s girlfriend at the time -supermodel Irina Shayk – was not mentioned as the child’s mother. In contrast, Ronaldo stated that her identity was a secret and no further information would be divulged on the subject.
His full statement read as follows:
“It is with great joy and emotion that I inform I have recently become father to a baby boy. As agreed with the baby’s mother, who prefers to have her identity kept confidential, my son will be under my exclusive guardianship. I request everyone to fully respect my right to privacy (and that of the child) at least on issues as personal as these are.”
British newspaper The Mirror alleged that Ronaldo’s son was the result of a brief affair the sports star had with a woman he met in a London restaurant. Following a one night stand, according to the paper, the lady in question fell pregnant and a “life-changing” deal was brokered to ensure Ronaldo’s custody of the child and her anonymity. This deal was reported to have cost $15.1 million.
Though no such details were ever confirmed by Ronaldo or any member of his family, he spoke about his son’s birth for the first time in a documentary about his life. In the film, he acknowledged the conjecture around his son.
“People speculate I was with this girl or another, or there was a surrogate mother. I have never told anyone and never will.”
While promoting the film during an interview on chat show The Jonathan Ross Show, he then explained that he would eventually reveal the identity of his son’s mother to only one person: his son (and namesake).
“When Cristiano is going to grow up, I am always going to say the truth to him because he deserves it, because he is my son, but I am not going to say because people want me to say.”
Cristiano added that he was not yet sure what age his son would be when he would break this news to him, but remained confident that his son would understand the circumstances around his birth and the secrecy surrounding his mother’s identity.
“I’m going to say the time when I feel that is the right time. I don’t know 10, 11, 12? I don’t know let’s see. […] I’m not worried about that, he’s going to understand his daddy; he is going to understand I am sure 100%.”
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