Cristiano Ronaldo’s father turned to drink after war in Africa – but alcohol led to death with son at his side

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Cristiano Ronaldo scarcely talks about his father.

But in Tuesday’s night emotional interview with Piers Morgan on ITV, Ronaldo broke down into tears when he was shown an old video of his dad.

Jose Dinis Aveiro passed away when Ronaldo was just 20 years old.

He died of a liver failure in London aged 52, which came on the back of his severe battle with alcoholism.

Ronaldo, who became a tee-total on the back of seeing his father’s struggles, did all that he could to save him, and he was by his side as he died.

Ronaldo’s mother Dolores has previously explained the lasting effect that Dinis’ alcohol addiction had.

Ronaldo, aged nine, stands alongside his father

She said: “He was drunk almost every day. I never really knew him well. I would have liked him to have been around more.

“Although he never mistreated his children, I became his victim.”

Dinis’ alcoholism came on the back of his experiences fighting in the Portuguese army.

He was stationed for some time in Africa and is said to have been deeply affected by his experiences in Mozambique and Angola.

Out there, they had no special treats or comforts beyond a refrigerator that would keep their beer cold.

“It was so hot that the water was always warm and wouldn’t kill your thirst,” Jose Manuel Coelho, a friend and fellow war veteran of Dinis, told ESPN in 2016.

Ronaldo poses with his mother and father as a young kid

“Beer was our best friend. They had Angolan beer: Cuca.

“The water was pulled from the river into a reservoir, but it wasn’t treated. We didn’t drink it. We drank beer instead.

“We were told the water could cause problems. It was used for showers, cooking and laundry.

“To drink, it was beer. When I drink a beer I sometimes think of Angola.”

Dinis (left) and his friend Alberto Martins

Ronaldo poses alongside his father

It became no easier when he returned to the island of Madeira, where he grew up.

“There were no jobs available,” Coelha continued.

“We were abandoned. The war veterans didn’t have any money and no work.

“Of course when I see Ronaldo, I remember his dad: he had problems and didn’t have anything to eat, so he would turn to drinking.

“His friends would buy him drinks. He didn’t have any money. He didn’t eat properly.”

Ronaldo and his son, Cristiano Jr, pose in front of a picture of Dinis

But like all good fathers, Dinis always believed that his son was going to grow up to be a success – and always told his friends that Ronaldo was going to go on to be the best in the world.

“We would call him a fool,” Alberto Martins, another one of Dinis closest friends, said. “He always believed.”

Sadly, Dinis was not around to see the true success that his son had.

Since his death, Ronaldo has gone on to win five Champions League titles, the same number of Ballons d’Or and leading his country to Euro 2016 and Nations League glory.

Ronaldo broke down in tears when his dad was mentioned in the interview

The 34-year-old father of four told Morgan: “My family see, my mum, my brothers, even my old son, but my father, he didn’t see nothing, and it was… he died young.”

In the interview with Morgan, Ronaldo was shown one of the last-ever video clips of Dinis.

It was a short interview conducted for Norwegian TV, Mr Aveiro talked about how proud he was of his son’s achievements.

After being shown the clip, a tearful Ronaldo said: “I never saw that video. Unbelievable.

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Cristiano Ronaldo meets Piers Morgan

“I think the interview would be funny, but I didn’t expect to cry. But I never saw these images. I don’t know where you… I have to have these images to show my family.

“I really don’t know my father 100 per cent. He was a drunk person. I never spoke with him, like a normal conversation. It was hard.

“To be the number one and he don’t see nothing, and he don’t see to receive awards, to see what I became.”



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