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Ronaldo's new baby unleashes speculation frenzy

By The Times | Jul 07, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

FIRST he surprised his fans with a mediocre performance in the World Cup.

Then, when it was over, he astonished them. Cristiano Ronaldo's online announcement, four days after his team was knocked out of the tournament in South Africa, that he is now a father, has prompted amazement and a frenzy of speculation.

The idea that a professional footballer would voluntarily assume "exclusive guardianship" of a child, while the identity of his mother remained a secret, confused many because, as one former footballer noted, "it's usually the other way round".

Yesterday reports from his native Portugal suggested that the player, linked over the years with a plentiful squad of girlfriends, had paid a North American woman to act as a surrogate mother.

Diario de Noticias, a national daily, said the child had been conceived through surrogacy in San Diego, where Ronaldo holidayed last summer. Katia Aviero, Ronaldo's younger sister, told the newspaper that her brother was "very happy".

Speaking from Vilamoura in the Algarve, she said the baby boy had dark eyes and hair like his father. It was reported that the child would be named after his father.

While online commentators discussed the current state of Ronaldo junior's dribbling skills, Tony Cascarino, a former professional footballer and columnist for The Times, expressed the thoughts of many in the game.

"Usually it's the other way round," he said. Usually you hear of footballers disowning their own children."

Another source who has worked with top-flight British footballers described it as "a very unusual scenario".

"You very rarely see any single man doing that, never mind a footballer," he said. "Especially one that lives the sort of life he does."

Ronaldo's mother, Dolores, said last year that, "If I were to believe what other people say, he would have been with more than 100 women."

The cast includes lingerie models, soap actresses, the heiress and socialite Paris Hilton and the Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova.

But glimpses of a more homespun character emerge, between tales of Las Vegas parties, fleets of fine cars, extraordinary pink leather jackets and compulsive body waxing. Brought to Manchester United at the age of 18, his mother followed him there to provide guidance and his favourite Portuguese meals.

His best friend Ze Pereira was required too, because, as Ronaldo explained at the time, "I don't like being alone."

On the menu, by way of entertainment, were the records of Ricky Martin, the Puerto Rican disco supremo who was, apparently, his idol. In 2008 Martin became a single parent to twins with the help of a surrogate mother.

Cascarino made his own prediction.

"He will definitely have a nanny," he said.

"But not the one that is at Manchester United" - a reference to the winger Nani and a joke that is already being made all over the world.


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