Cristiano Ronaldo, the most famous and wealthiest soccer player in the world, rarely talks about his religious faith. He was raised in a Roman Catholic family in the Funchal parish of Santo Antonio on the island of Madeira with his parents, Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro and Jose Dinis Aveiro. Ronaldo is the youngest child. He has one older brother, Hugo, two sisters, Elma and Liliana Catia.
His religion is no surprise as 84 percent of Ronaldo’s homeland are also Roman Catholics. There are around 9 million baptized Roman Catholics in Portugal. Country Data says that common expression in the country is, “to be Portuguese is to be Catholic.”
Unlike his friend Mesut Ozil, Ronaldo doesn’t often speak his faith or religion.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Despite Not Speaking About His Faith, Ronald Collects Crucifix Necklaces
In a 2011 interview with the Daily Mirror, Ronaldo said that he collected crucifix necklaces which “bring him closer to God during games.” When asked about his son, Ronaldo said that wanted to keep his son “from being spoilt with luxuries. He will be taught values and religious values.” The same piece says that Ronaldo was raised “strictly and religiously” by his mother and father.
Ronaldo’s son was born through a surrogate who was reportedly paid more than $10 million to relinquish her parental rights to their son. Activist and former Miss Universe Alicia Machado came out against Ronaldo having twins through a surrogate in February 2018. Machado told People Magazine, “I do not agree; I don’t believe in it. That goes against my religious beliefs. I agree with that kind of experimenting only when there is a need [like] a mom who maybe has a sister that lends her body.”
2. Ronaldo’s Sister Katia Compared Her Brother to Jesus Christ in 2016
After Cristiano Ronaldo won the European Championships with Portugal in 2016, his sister, Katia, took to Instagram to compare her brother to Jesus Christ. According to Google Translate, Ronaldo’s sister said, “These tears that my brother shed hurt like daggers in his chest and made many Portuguese mourn along with him the pain of the dirty and disgusting game they had with us … but God is great and I knew that just as Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross for a better world this Christian shed tears for the pain of not being able to fight with his companions to the end for his beloved homeland, but as God is just, the cup was erected by the righteous victors and justice was done and the dream was fulfilled we are champions.”
3. Ronaldo’s Went to Portugal’s Holiest Shrine to Pray for Him Prior Euro 2016
El Comercio reported in May 2016 that Ronaldo’s mother, Dolores Aveiro, went to Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal to pray for her son ahead of the European Championships in 2016. Aveiro is quoted by the newspaper as saying, “I have come to Fatima to fulfill my promises.” The same piece mentions the importance of faith in Ronaldo’s life. It cites his faith as a saving grace when Ronaldo’s father died from alcoholism in 2006.
4. There Had Been Social Media Rumors that Ronaldo Had Converted to Islam
In 2018, a Quora query answered the question, “Did Ronaldo convert to Islam?” The question was answered by Atiqur Rahman Palash from the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh who said that the striker had not converted. The answer says that “Ronaldo is very sympathetic toward Muslim.” The answer cites his donations to Palestinians and Syrian children. It also mentions his close friendships with Muslim players Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema. In March 2013, it was reported that Ronaldo had deliberately snubbed Israeli soccer players after a game in Tel Aviv. A few days before the game, Ronaldo posed with a group of Palestinian activists.
In February 2018, Ronaldo posted a photo to Twitter in support of the people of Rohingya in Myanmar. The Times of Israel reported in February 2016 that Ronaldo was being criticized by Palestinian activists for his appearance in a commercial for an Israeli cable company.
5. In 2016, Ronaldo Was Accused of Offending Buddhists Worldwide
In October 2016, Ronaldo accused of disrespecting Buddhists worldwide after posting a photo of himself next to a statue at his home in Madrid.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Buddhists worldwide were offended that Ronaldo put his foot on the statue. One commenter wrote, via the Telegraph, “Hi dude but it’s basic knowledge that you cannot put your foot on a religious statue.”