A new biography about acclaimed Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo reveals that he almost lost his life before he was born.
The troubled athlete came from a very difficult family background, The Guardian reports. Cristiano’s father was an alcoholic and a war veteran who suffered emotionally from his experiences at war, and his mother, Dolores, said she was her husband’s “victim,” according to the report.
When Dolores found out she was pregnant, she asked a neighbor for advice. Because abortion was widely illegal in Portugal at the time, his mother said the neighbor suggested that she drink boiled black beer to kill her unborn son, according to the report.
“He was an unwanted child,” Dolores told biographer Guillem Balague.
The home abortion procedure didn’t work, and Cristiano’s mother is happy now that it did not, the report states. She gave birth to her son in February 1985.
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Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith, writing for the Catholic Herald, said Portugal’s pro-life laws saved the star athlete’s life.
“… it was this legal restraint that probably saved Ronaldo’s life,” Lucie-Smith wrote. “Nowadays, a woman in Mrs Ronaldo’s position would perhaps be given a doctor-assisted abortion with no questions asked. Luckily for Ronaldo and football fans the world over, that was not the case in 1984. The implication is clear: restrictive laws with regard to abortion save lives.”