How Cristiano Ronaldo’s poor and troubled childhood with drunk dad spurred desire to be perfect father

SMILING at the camera in a hospital scan last year, Cristiano Ronaldo’s pregnant girlfriend Georgina was a picture of excitement.

This week, however, the football world united in grief after the Manchester United striker revealed one of their twin babies had died after the 28-year-old gave birth.

Georgina Rodriguez posted a snap ahead of their birth scan last year

Ronaldo with Cristiano Jr, Eva and Mateo and a picture of dad Jose

Ronaldo with Cristiano Jr, Eva and Mateo and a picture of dad JoseCredit: Instagram @cristiano

The devastated dad, 37, has worked tireless to provide for his four – and now five – children, raising them in the £3million Cheshire mansion the family moved to when he returned to Manchester United in September

But it’s a far cry from the player’s own poverty-stricken childhood in Portugal, begging for burgers outside McDonald’s and sharing one room with his three siblings.

Raised by an alcoholic dad and a loving mum, the 36-year-old star has strived to be the perfect dad to his adorable brood.

Dr Becky Spelman, psychologist & clinical director of the Private Therapy Clinic, says the hardships Ronaldo experienced have shaped his views of fatherhood.

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“Extreme adversity in childhood can create extreme resilience in people and a determination to create a very different life for themselves,” she tells The Sun.

“Of course, we don’t always see this in every individual but certain personalities are prone to push past adversity… and we see this in Ronaldo. 

“He clearly experienced a lot of pain in childhood but he’s turned that pain into something positive. 

“It’s something that he is not forgetting about but he’s using it to his advantage and it’s helped motivate him to become the person he is today and to make sure he and his children have a very different life.” 

Desperate mum struggled to keep family going

Ronaldo was the youngest of four children born to cook Dolores dos Santos and part-time gardener José Dinis Aveiro.

He got his famous name from Ronald Reagan – his dad’s favourite actor – but in her autobiography Mother Courage, Dolores revealed she’d asked doctors to abort him as they struggled to keep their family afloat financially.

Ronaldo’s dad Jose was left with mental health issues after serving his country in an unpopular war against Angola, who successfully fought for independence. 

He returned a broken man, unable to find a good job, and turned to alcohol to numb the memory of the atrocities he had witnessed in service.

Ronaldo’s mum has since said that he was a good dad but hinted he was abusive to her.

“He was drunk almost every day. I never really knew him well. I would have liked him to have been around more,” she admitted.

“Although he never mistreated his children, I became his victim.”

Begging for food from burger chain

During an interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo said he grew up hungry and is keen to track down the McDonald’s workers who used to sneak him burgers as a kid to say thank you.

“We were a little hungry. We have a McDonald’s next to the stadium, we knocked on the door and asked if they had any burgers. There was always Edna and two other girls. I never found them again,” he said.

To supplement his low income, Jose took a second job as kit man at the local football club, where Ronaldo had become a shining star in the youth team. 

But his ailing dad never got to see his son reach the levels of football stardom he was to achieve.

He died in 2005 of liver failure, when Ronaldo was just 20 – two years into his career at Old Trafford.

“I really don’t know my father 100 per cent,” Ronaldo revealed on ITV’s Cristiano Ronaldo Meets Piers Morgan.

“He was a drunk person. I never spoke with him, like a normal conversation. It was hard.

“To be the number one and he don’t see nothing, and he don’t see to receive awards, to see what I became [sic].”

Ronaldo’s experience with his dad saw him swear off alcohol and become a lifelong teetotaller.

Mum Dolores believes football saved her son from going down a similar path of self-destruction.

“If he hadn’t dedicated himself to football, he would probably have fallen into drugs,” she said.

Ronaldo's family struggled to put food on the table

Ronaldo’s family struggled to put food on the tableCredit: Collect

Ronaldo shared a bedroom with his older sibling in the family home

Ronaldo shared a bedroom with his older sibling in the family home

Four kids by three mums

Ronaldo’s meteoric rise has seen him become one of the most prolific goalscorers of all time, playing for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.

But he’s also found time to raise a family since the birth of his first son Cristiano Jr, in 2010.

Born in the United States to a mother who has never been named, he was immediately taken back to Madrid by Dolores to start his life in Spain with his father, who has full custody.

Cristiano Jr’s family nickname is Cristianinho, which means “little Cristiano”.

The star split from Russian model Irina Shayk in 2015, and two years later he announced he had fathered twins – Mateo and Eva – with a surrogate mum.

Georgina gave birth to their baby daughter Alana Martina on November 12, 2017. Ronaldo posted a picture on Instagram, writing: “Alana Martina is just born! Both Geo and Alana are doing great! We are all very happy!”

Last summer the family moved back to Cheshire after Man United paid £13m to transfer the striker from Juventus.

Last week, the couple announced the imminent arrival of two new additions with the statement: “Delighted to announce we are expecting twins. Our hearts are full of love – we can’t wait to meet you.”

The new arrivals will bring Ronaldo’s brood to six, with just one more required to reach Ronaldo’s target of seven.

“Cristianinho is very happy,” he told a Portuguese newspaper after the birth of his first twins.

“He’s doing well and says he wants more brothers and sisters. He wants seven, the magic number, and I think that’s good.”

Luxury life far cry from dad’s

With a father worth £789m, the children enjoy a life of luxury, living in huge mansions with private swimming pools.

Their seven-bed mansion in Cheshire also boasts a cinema room and a four-car garage for some of Ronaldo’s £17million supercars.

The family moved from a nearby £6m mansion in 23 acres of land after a week because of the noise of bleating sheep, which kept them awake, and security fears.

The striker also owns a plush villa in Marbella with four bedrooms, high-vaulted ceilings and incredible views of the sea plus a private golf course, an in-built cinema and infinity pool.

But he has never forgotten his roots – spending £7million to convert a warehouse into a seven-storey mansion in Funchal.

Georgina is said to be enthralled by the Portuguese home’s incredible sea view, as well as its amenities including two Olympic-sized swimming pools, jacuzzi and, naturally, a football pitch.

Ronaldo recently revealed he took son Cristiano Jr to his childhood home and he was shocked by the size of his dad’s former bedroom: “My son turned to me and said: ‘Papa. Did you live here?’ He could not believe it.”

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The painful memories of his rumbling tummy, cramped house and alcoholic dad has made him determined to be the best dad he can be, and provide his kids with a lifestyle he could only have dreamt of in the streets of Funchal. 

“I was made to be the best,” Ronaldo said. “That’s how I live my life.” 

The family enjoy a life of luxury a young Ronaldo could only dream of

The family enjoy a life of luxury a young Ronaldo could only dream ofCredit: Instagram @cristiano

Their latest home is a mansion in the Cheshire countryside

Their latest home is a mansion in the Cheshire countryside

Their holiday home is a luxury villa in Marbella

Their holiday home is a luxury villa in Marbella

The star's children want for nothing as they travel the world

The star’s children want for nothing as they travel the worldCredit: Instagram

The player wept as he remembered his dad in the Piers Morgan interview

The player wept as he remembered his dad in the Piers Morgan interviewCredit: PA:Press Association

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