Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken of his “deepest sadness” after announcing that one of his twin babies has tragically died.
The Manchester United and Portugal striker revealed the heartbreaking news in a post on his social-media accounts on Monday night.
Ronaldo said that girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez had given birth to a baby girl but explained that the twin’s baby brother had died.
“It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that our baby boy has passed away,” Ronaldo said in a message on Instagram and Twitter addressed from him and Rodriguez.
“It is the greatest pain that any parents can feel. Only the birth of our baby girl gives us the strength to live this moment with some hope and happiness.
“We would like to thank the doctors and nurses for all their expert care and support. We are all devastated at this loss and we kindly ask for privacy at this very difficult time.
“Our baby boy, you are our angel. We will always love you.”
It remains to be seen if Ronaldo – who scored a hat-trick in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Norwich to take his tally for the campaign to 21 goals – will decide to play any part in United’s Premier League game against Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Marcus Rashford, Ronaldo’s United team-mate, led the condolences. “Thoughts are with you and Georgina brother. I’m so sorry.”
United offered their heartfelt sympathies to Ronaldo and his family in a Twitter post on Monday night that read: “Your pain is our pain, @Cristiano. Sending love and strength to you and the family at this time.”
Ronaldo and Rodriguez revealed in November that she was expecting twins. The following month, they disclosed on social media that they were expecting a boy and a girl.
Rodriguez and Ronaldo already had a four-year-old daughter, Alana Martina, who was born in November 2017. Five months earlier, Ronaldo became father to twins Eva Maria and Mateo, who were born via a surrogate. He also has an 11-year-old son, Cristiano Jr, from a previous relationship.
Ronaldo’s obsession about becoming the world’s greatest footballer was one of the defining motivations behind his extraordinary playing career.
That drive and single-mindedness has helped the Manchester United and Portugal forward to achieve individual and team success that only his great rival Lionel Messi can match in the modern game.
But another side to Ronaldo’s character has also emerged over the years: that of a doting dad and loving family man.
Only a fortnight ago Ronaldo posted a picture on Instagram of him with his pregnant girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez, who announced last year that she was expecting a twin boy and girl, and his four children above the caption: “Family is everything #proud”.
The news then on Monday night that one of their twin babies had tragically died came as a huge shock and sadness and invited a wave of heartfelt sympathies across the football landscape and beyond.
Ronaldo was quoted by the Portuguese newspaper, Correio da Manha, in 2017 as saying that his eldest son, Cristiano Jr, now 11 and who plays for United’s academy, wanted to be part of a big family and admitted the idea of having seven children – to match his iconic shirt number – appealed. “[Cristiano Jr] wants seven – the magic number – and I think that’s good,” Ronaldo reportedly said.
Ronaldo has a very close relationship with his mother, Dolores, whom he has described as “the pillar of the family”, but his father, Jose, who was an alcoholic, died of a liver condition in 2005 when the player was 20, two years into his first spell with United.
Ronaldo has talked previously at the sadness he has felt at not knowing his father “100 per cent” and, as such, has given the impression of being doubly determined to ensure he has a very different relationship with his own children.