He is now one of the most successful footballers of the 21st-century and is one of few sporting billionaires.

But Cristiano Ronaldo, 38, grew up in relative poverty and had to clean streets and beg for food to support his family in Sao Pedro, Madeira.

Ronaldo is the youngest of four children born – after multiple failed abortion attempts – to his mother Dolores dos Santos and father Jose Dinis Aveiro in 1985.

His father, who was ‘drunk almost every day’, was a part-time gardener and suffered with mental health issues after his time fighting for the Portuguese Army during the Angolan War of Independence.

Ronaldo told broadcaster Piers Morgan his family struggled to put food on the table and he used to beg outside a McDonald’s next to the stadium his father worked at as a kitman.

He said: ‘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.’

Ronaldo’s father never got to see the heights of his success as he died from liver failure in 2005 just two years into Ronaldo’s career at Old Trafford.

He added: ‘I really don’t know my father 100 per cent. He was a drunk person. I never spoke with him, like a normal conversation. It was hard.’

Despite the hardship, he grew up in a close family with an elder brother, Hugo, 48, and two older sisters, Elma, 49, and Liliana Kátia, 45, who would ‘pamper’ and ‘baby’ him.

He was given the name ‘cry baby’ while at school because he was said to cry when he didn’t get his way.

It is also rumoured he was expelled from school after throwing a chair at his teacher, claiming they had disrespected him.

But it wasn’t soon after when he left academia at the age of 14 and pursued his passion for football.

He joined Sporting CP in 2002 at the age of sixteen and was quickly signed by Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson, where he made his name as one of the best footballers in the world and earnt a fortune.

After an illustrious footballing career, Ronaldo is now comfortably at the top of the sporting rich-list and is set to earn £175million a year in Saudi Arabia at his new club Al Nassr.

He has an estimated net worth of £789million and owns luxury properties with private swimming pools all over the world- including Lisbon, Madeira, Geres, Turin, Madrid, New York and Riyadh.

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

But despite his success and wealth, Ronaldo’s tough childhood made him appreciate family values – and in a sense – he has taken them along on the journey.

He said his mother has always lived with him across all the different cities and clubs since joining Manchester United in 2003 – because he can’t imagine leaving her.

He is now a father-of-five and has described raising a family as one of the greatest privileges of his life.

Ronaldo recently revealed he took his 12-year-old 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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