Grandmothers Know Best: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Mother Believes Her Grandson is a Star in the Making
In episode 37 of ADN de Leao, Sporting Lisbon’s official podcast, Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother, Dolores Aveiro, talked about her famous son, her love for Sporting Lisbon, and how her grandson, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr, might be an even greater footballer than his father.
Aveiro explained that her grandson, ‘Cristianinho,’ is a better player at age eleven than his father was at the same age. She believes that having the elder Ronaldo as a coach has been instrumental in his rapid development.
The younger Cristiano, now a member of Manchester United’s youth academy, posted big numbers while playing with Juventus’ youth team. With the club’s under-nine side he scored 56 goals to go along with 26 assists in only 35 matches. With over two goal contributions a game, it’s not hard to see why his grandmother has high hopes for Cristianinho.
22 September, 12:17 GMT
Aveiro’s great expectations for her grandson are not without merit, but it’s important to remember the humble beginnings that the elder Ronaldo came from. Before he was five-time Ballon d’Or winner, he was just a poor kid living in Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
Ronaldo got his start with the youth team for Andorinha. The club, at the time, was in the fifth tier of Portuguese football. While his talent was obvious, the facilities and coaching available to Ronaldo were far inferior to the ones his son has grown up with. The story of Ronaldo becoming one of the greatest players in history is, in large part, owed to his burning desire to be the best, overcoming less than hospitable environments.
After starring in Andorinha’s youth ranks, he moved to C.D. Nacional, the largest club on the island, but still a team languishing in Portugal’s second division. Ronaldo quickly established himself as the best young talent on the island. However, predicting he would become one of the best players in the world was still fantasy, as no one from Madeira had even made an international appearance for Portugal.
It wasn’t long before Ronaldo caught the eye of Sporting Lisbon, one of Portugal’s three great clubs, along with Benfica and Porto. At age 12, Ronaldo moved to Lisbon and quickly moved up the ranks at Sporting. In 2002, at seventeen years old, Ronaldo made his first senior appearance with Lisbon and the rest is history. One season later he was playing for Manchester United and on his way to one of the greatest careers in the sport’s history.
Ronaldo’s youth career, in many respects, is the polar opposite of his son’s. Cristianinho has spent his youth career in the academies of Juventus and Manchester United to go along with the tutelage from one of the world’s greatest players. His grandmother may be right that Cristianinho is better than his father was at the same age, but the hard work has only just begun for the talented youngster. Dolores Aveiro hopes that her son and grandson may one day play together with Sporting Lisbon. If she’s right about her precocious grandson’s talent, United fans will hope they can keep him in Manchester for good.