Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and his partner Georgina Rodriguez took to social media on Monday to share the heartbreaking news that their newborn son has passed away. “It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that our baby boy has passed away. It is the greatest pain that any parents can feel.”

The entire world joined in to grieve alongside the Portuguese — and Manchester United — great, who is often referred to as the greatest of all time. For all the adulation he has received, Ronaldo, a father to five (including the surviving twin baby sister of the deceased baby son), has maintained that fatherhood is “honestly the greatest privilege I’ve had”.

“Only the birth of our baby girl gives us the strength to live this moment with some hope and happiness…,” he and Georgina added. “We are all devastated at this loss and we kindly ask for privacy at this very difficult time.”

For the UAE — and Dubai in particular — it probably hit home harder. Ronaldo has a special relationship with this country, so the sense of loss is even more acute because we are mourning a devastating tragedy that has beset one of our very own. The latest connect that Ronaldo shared with the world was his expedition to Expo2020, which he visited with his family: he spoke of how much he and his family love Dubai and visits it every year, and how impressed he is with the Expo.

“Whatever Dubai does is just amazing and impressive. I am not surprised at things here. It’s just fantastic to see how things are made possible here. Expo is unbelievably impressive.”

In response, Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum posted a heart-warming “Dubai loves you back”.

Ronaldo and his son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr were pictured having a conversation with Sheikh Hamdan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. And this was also the time when Ronaldo organised a laser show at the Burj Khalifa to surprise Georgina on her 28th birthday. There are other connects. Ronaldo was among the early lot of recipients of the UAE golden visa. He is the official brand ambassador of Talabat in the MENA region, and Talabat has a huge presence in this country.

The football great is at home here. “Thanks for everything @dubai #alwaystogether” he said on social media. So, at this juncture, when the world — and life — appears to be closing in on him, Georgina and the rest of their family in the cruelest manner possible, we join in, in the time of Ramadan, to offer hope and prayers.

The football great was among the early lot of recipients of the UAE golden visa

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