Cristiano Ronaldo’s story is a true rags-to-riches tale.
The Manchester United star didn’t grow up with much. Raised in Madeira, Portugal, Ronaldo shared a bedroom with his siblings in their small family home and experienced severe hunger at times.
An opportunity to join Sporting Lisbon was Ronaldo’s route to the top but even that didn’t afford him much luxury.
His son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr., was shocked when he saw the house where his father lived as he was coming through the ranks at the club.
“My son turned to me and said: ‘Dad, you really live here?!’” Ronaldo said in a 2019 interview with TVI.
“They think everything is easy in this world,” Ronaldo added. “They think that it all just falls into their lap.”
It’s easy to understand why Ronaldo, having achieved more than he could have ever imagined in football, continues to work hard.
Simply put, that’s all he knows.
Ronaldo used to beg for burgers
Ronaldo opened up more about his childhood during an interview with Piers Morgan in 2019.
One of the most startling stories came when he spoke about going to the local McDonald’s restaurant to beg for burgers.
Ronaldo was in Lisbon at the time, away from his family. He described it as a “very hard period” in his life.
The interview sparked an appeal to track down the ladies who would slip Ronaldo leftovers, including one named Edna.
Ronaldo said: “Late at night, like 10:30, 11, we are a little bit hungry. We had a McDonald’s next to the stadium where we lived, and we’d always go to the back door and knock on the door… ‘hey, any burgers left?’
“And Edna and two more girls, which… they are unbelievable. I never found the girls again.
“I spoke with some people in Portugal to try to find the girls but they closed the McDonalds. But if this interview will help to find them, I will be so happy.
“I want to invite them to Turin or Lisbon to come to my house, to come have dinner with me and I want to find these girls to be honest.
“I want to give something back.”
It’s not clear whether Ronaldo did manage to find the McDonald’s workers. Piers Morgan dismissed one woman’s claims that she was one of the employees involved.
It wasn’t always easy for Ronaldo.
His story serves as a reminder of the struggle he endured to make it to the top – which makes his journey getting there even more incredible.