Cristiano Ronaldo confirms birth of twins, leaves Portugal at Confed Cup
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo will not play in Sunday's Confederations Cup third-place playoff after the team allowed him to leave camp to visit his newborn twins.
Reports in Portugal earlier this month said Ronaldo had become a father for a second time on June 8, with twins Eva and Mateo born to a surrogate mother in the United States.
The Real Madrid star confirmed their birth after Portugal's semifinal defeat to Chile on Wednesday, writing on Facebook: "I have been serving the national team, as always, in body and soul, even knowing that my two children had been born.
"The president of the FPF and the national team coach have had an attitude I will never forget. I am happy to finally be able to be with my babies for the first time."
Ronaldo is already the father of a seven-year-old boy, also called Cristiano. He posed with his new children in a photo posted to Instagram, garnering over 2 million likes in less than an hour.
Portugal lost to Chile on penalties, and hours after the match the Portuguese FA (FPF) released a statement saying Ronaldo would not feature in the playoff.
"We were informed before the Confederations Cup that Cristiano had become a father," the statement said.
"The player, despite the birth of his children, had remained at the service of the national team, a gesture which we must underline and praise.
"With it now impossible to win the Confederations Cup, they must free the player so that he can, at last, go and meet his children."
In the mixed zone after the Chile game, he said: "I am talking to nobody."
Meanwhile, ex-Madrid full-back Alvaro Arbeloa told "El Transistor" radio show: "For me, Cristiano is innocent until the opposite is shown.
"I am convinced he will stay at Madrid. He is a winner, and he knows he is at the best team in the world. There is no better place for him than here."
Madrid president Florentino Perez said earlier this week that he was expecting to talk to Ronaldo once the Confederations Cup was over and was confident that the situation could be resolved.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan