Portugal's superstar captain Cristiano Ronaldo revealed on Thursday he will not play in the FIFA Confederations Cup third-place match this weekend so he can finally meet his newborn twins. Hours after Wednesday's 3-0 semi-final defeat to Chile in a penalty shoot-out in Kazan, Ronaldo said he had been given permission to miss Sunday's play-off in Moscow, against either Germany or Mexico, and jetted off to meet his new arrivals. On Thursday, Ronaldo posted a picture on both Instagram and Facebook of him with a baby on each arm.
"So happy to be able to hold the two new loves of my life," he wrote.
So happy to be able to hold the two new loves of my life pic.twitter.com/FIY11aWQm9— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) June 29, 2017
Ronaldo, 32, is believed to have fathered the twins with a surrogate mother in the United States.
He already has a seven-year-old son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jnr, who was also born using a surrogate mother.
According to the Portuguese press, the twins, Mateo and Eva, were born on June 8 and their mother, who lives on the west coast of the United States, received 200,000 euros ($228,610).
The four-time Ballon d'Or winner usually goes to great lengths to guard his privacy, but revealed he has become a father for the second time.
The Real Madrid forward says he gave his "body and soul" for his country in the semi-final, which finished goalless after extra time, "even though my two children were born".
"The President of the Portuguese Football Federation and the national coach have an attitude that has touched me and I will not forget," Ronaldo wrote on his official Facebook page.
"I'm very happy to finally be with my children for the first time."
At the same time, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) said in a statement that Ronaldo had been excused from playing the third-place play-off in Moscow.
FPF president Fernando Gomes and Portugal's head coach Fernando Santos decided to "free the player so that he can finally get to know his children".
According to the press in Portugal, Ronaldo could be set to expand his brood further in the coming months as his Spanish girlfriend, Georgina Rodriguez, 22, is reportedly pregnant.
As well as meeting his newborn babies, Ronaldo faces an uncertain future having threatened to leave Spain as he faces allegations of tax evasion, totalling 14.7 million euros, in a court in Madrid next month.
Ronaldo made himself unavailable to the press at the Confed Cup while his team-mates and Santos regularly fielded questions from journalists about their superstar.
The answer was always the same: "Ronaldo is a true professional and focused on helping Portugal at the tournament", which he did with two goals and an assist.
Having won man-of-the-match awards in each of their three Confed Cup group stage games, Ronaldo did not have his best match against Chile, whose defence managed to subdue the Real star.