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Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo: Being a father is ‘a feeling I can’t describe’

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo says that becoming a father has made him experience winning trophies in a new, more fulfilling way.

Ronaldo has won 13 trophies since joining Madrid for a then-world record €92 million fee in 2009, while also claiming a number of personal prizes, including four Ballon d’Or awards.

The last two seasons have been the most fruitful of his career, with Madrid winning back-to-back Champions League crowns and the 2016-17 La Liga title, while he also captained Portugal to victory at Euro 2016.

Writing for the Players’ Tribune, the 32-year-old described how his emotions have changed over time at the Santiago Bernabeu — a place where not winning everything is seen by others as a failure.

“Over the past eight years, I have achieved incredible things at Madrid,” Ronaldo wrote. “But to be honest, winning trophies later on in my career has become a different kind of emotion. Especially in these last two years.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates winning the Ballon d’Or with his son Cristiano Jr.

“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 are a father, it is a completely different feeling. A feeling that I cannot describe. This is why my time in Madrid has been special. I have been a footballer, yes, but also a father.”

Ronaldo explained the feeling he gets in sharing his victories with Cristiano Jr, now 7, and connects it back to when he was a boy himself, playing football on Madeira and impressing his family.

“When I was on the pitch after the final whistle [of the 2017 Champions League final], it felt like I had sent a message to the world,” he said.

“But then my son came on the field to celebrate with me … and it was like the snap of a finger. Suddenly, the entire emotion changed. He was running around with Marcelo’s son. We held the trophy together. Then we walked around the field, hand in hand. It is a joy that I did not understand until I was a father.

“There are so many emotions happening simultaneously that you cannot 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.”

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