“Ronaldo’s Inspiring Journey: How His Father’s Love and Support Ignited the Emotionally Charged Story Behind His Success”

I have a vivid memory of when I was seven years old.  I can picture it in my head now because it’s so clear to me and it warms me.  It’s related to my family.

I only recently started playing real football.  I used to play with my friends on the streets of Madeira.  And I don’t mean a deserted road when I say “the street”.  Actually, I meant a street.  We didn’t have any objectives or anything and we had to stop the game whenever a car passed by.  I was completely happy to do this every day, but as my father worked as a kitman for CF Andorinha, he insisted that I join the youth team.  I went because I knew he would be very proud.

I didn’t understand many of the rules on the first day, but I still loved it.  I became dependent on the rules and the sense of accomplishment.  My father watched every game from the sidelines, wearing work pants and a bushy beard.  He admired this.  However, neither my mother nor my sisters were football fans.

My father therefore insisted on begging them to come and see me perform every night at dinner.  He seemed to be my first agent.  When we returned from games together, he would announce: “Cristiano scored a goal!”

They would respond with “Oh, great.”

In fact, they weren’t thrilled, you know?

The next time he returned home, he would announce: “Cristiano scored two goals!”

Still nothing exciting.  The only thing they said was: “Ah, that’s really cool, Cris”.

What then could I do?  I just kept making score after score.

Cristiano scored three goals, my father informed me when he got home one night.  He was incredible.  You must watch his presentation.

Still, before every game, I looked outside and saw my dad alone.  Then one day, as I was warming up, I noticed my mother and sisters sitting next to each other in the stands.  I will never forget that vision.  They appeared, how shall I say?  They looked inviting.  They were kind of huddled next to each other and instead of applauding or shouting, they just waved at me like I was in a parade or something.  They unmistakably gave the impression that they had never watched a football game.  They were there, though.  I was just worried about it.

I felt so good at that moment.  It meant a lot to me.  It was as if something had changed inside me.  I was very proud.  At that time, we didn’t have much money.  Life was a struggle back then in Madeira.  I was playing with the old boots that my brother passed down to me or that my cousins ​​gave me.  But when you’re a kid, you don’t care about money.  You care about a certain feeling.  And that day that feeling was very strong.  I felt protected and loved.  In Portuguese we say beloved boy of the family.

I remember it with nostalgia, because that period of my life turned out to be short.  Football gave me everything, but it also took me away from home before I was really ready.  At the age of 11, I moved from the island to Sporting Lisboa’s academy and it was the most difficult moment of my life.

It’s crazy to think about it now.  My son, Cristiano Jr., is 7 years old as I write this.  And I just think about how I would feel, packing a suitcase for him in four years and sending him off to Paris or London.  It seems impossible.  And I’m sure it seemed impossible for my parents to do that to me.

But it was my opportunity to pursue my dream.  So they let me go and I went.  I cried almost every day.  I was still in Portugal, but it was like moving to another country.  The accent made it sound like a completely different language.  The culture was different.  I didn’t know anyone and I was extremely lonely.  My family could only afford to come visit me every four months or so.  I was missing them so much that every day was painful.

Football kept me going.  I knew I was doing things on the field that the other kids at the academy couldn’t do.  I remember the first time I heard one of the kids say to another kid, “Did you see what he did?  This guy is a beast.”

I started hearing this all the time.  Even from the coaches.  But then someone would always say, “Yes, but it’s a shame he’s so small.”

And it’s true, I was thin.  I had no muscles.  So I made a decision at 11 years old.  I knew I had a lot of talent, but I decided I would work harder than everyone else.  I would stop playing like a child.  I was going to stop acting like a child.  I would train as if I could be the best in the world.

I don’t know where this feeling came from.  It was just inside me.  It’s like a hunger that never goes away.  When you lose, it’s like you’re starving.  When you win, it’s still like you’re starving but you ate a crumb.  This is the only way I can explain it.

I started sneaking out of the dorm at night to work out.  I got bigger and faster.  And then I’d go out on the field – and people would whisper, “Yeah, but he’s so skinny”?  Now they would be looking at me like it was the end of the world.

When I was 15, I turned to some of my teammates during training.  I remember this clearly.  I told them: “One day I will be the best in the world.”

They were kind of laughing about it.  I wasn’t even in Sporting’s first team yet, but I had that belief.  I really meant it.

When I started playing professionally at age 17, my mother could barely watch because of the stress.  She came to see me play at the old José Alvalade Stadium and got so nervous during big games that she sometimes fainted.  Seriously, she fainted.  Doctors started prescribing sedatives just for my matches.

I would say to her, “Remember when you didn’t care about football?”  ?

I started dreaming bigger and bigger.  I wanted to play for the national team and I wanted to play for Manchester because I watched the Premier League on TV all the time.  I was mesmerized by how quickly the game progressed and the songs the crowd sang.  The atmosphere was so moving to me.  When I became a Manchester player, it was a very proud moment for me, but I think it was an even prouder moment for my family.

At first, winning trophies was very exciting for me.  I remember when I won my first Champions League trophy in Manchester, it was an overwhelming feeling.  The same thing with my first Ballon d’Or.  But my dreams kept getting bigger.  That’s the goal of dreams, right?  I have always admired Madrid and wanted a new challenge.  I wanted to win trophies in Madrid, break all records and become a club legend.

In the last eight years I have achieved incredible things in Madrid.  But to be honest, winning trophies later in my career became a different kind of thrill.  Especially these last two years.  At Madrid, if you don’t win everything, other people consider it a failure.  This is the expectation of greatness.  This is my job.

But when you’re a parent, it’s a completely different feeling.  A feeling I can’t describe.  That’s why my stay in Madrid was special.  I was a football player, yes, but I was also a father.

There is a moment with my son that I will always remember very clearly.

When I think about it, I feel hot.

It was the moment on the pitch after we won the last Champions League final, in Cardiff.  We made history that night.  When I walked onto the pitch after the final whistle, I felt like I had sent a message to the world.  But then my son came onto the field to celebrate with me… and it was like a snap of the fingers.  Suddenly the whole emotion changed.  He was walking with Marcelo’s son.  We hold the trophy together.  Then we walked through the field, hand in hand.

It’s a joy I didn’t understand until I was a father.  There are so many emotions happening simultaneously that you can’t describe the feeling in words.  The only thing I can compare it to is how I felt when I was warming up in Madeira and I saw my mother and sister huddled together in the stands.

When we returned to the Santiago Bernabéu to celebrate, Cristiano Jr. and Marcelito were playing on the pitch in front of the entire crowd.  It was a very different scene from when I played on the streets at his age, but I hope the feeling for my son is the same as it was for me.  Beloved boy in the family.

After 400 games with Real Madrid, winning continues to be my biggest ambition.  I think I was born this way.  But the feeling after winning definitely changed.  This is a new chapter in my life.  I had a special message engraved on my new boots.  It’s right at the heel, and the words are the last thing I read before I strap them on and head for the tunnel.

It’s like a final reminder… a final motivation.  He says: “The child’s dream.”

The child’s dream.

Maybe now you understand.

At the end of the day, of course – my mission is the same as always.  I want to continue breaking records in Madrid.  I want to win as many titles as possible.  This is just my nature.

But what means the most to me about my time in Madrid, and what I will tell my grandchildren when I’m 95, is the feeling of walking around the field like a champion, hand in hand with my son.

I hope we do this again.

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