Ronaldo’s Resilience After a Sexual Abuse Scandal

Cristiano Ronaldo and the Long Walk to Recovery

When Ronaldo first made the news for publicly defending himself against a sexual abuse scandal in 2013, the Portuguese star had just completed a lucrative season on the pitch and was enjoying a three-year contract with Real Madrid, but he had still not come to terms with the fact he was, at worst, an abuser.

The situation was far more complicated for Ronaldo, who was a teenager when he suffered severe abuse at the hands of a prominent coach at his hometown club, Vasco da Gama — known in Portuguese as Víktor Pereira da Silva, or simply VPS — at a time when the young Ronaldo’s parents were still living in the capital of Portugal, Lisbon.

Ronaldo went on to help lead the club to promotion from the Primeira Liga in the 2010/11 season while his then-younger sister and then-younger brother were still living with the abuse and suffering from psychological effects that the experience had left them with. And still, when he was finally able to come to terms with the abuse, it didn’t take him long to realize he still had a lot of work to do in recovering from his trauma. But it was the work he started when he was in his mid-20s that really paid off.

Ronaldo is by all accounts remarkably resilient, both in his personal life and in his professional one. He has been dogged by a series of allegations of physical and emotional abuse going back to his teenage years, which started when he was a kid playing for Vasco da Gama, where there was a coach who regularly abused him. (One of Ronaldo’s teammates at Vasco da Gama, Miguel Godinho, revealed that VPS, who was allegedly a local superstar, had been abusing him when young Ronaldo was still living there. Ronaldo’s father was also a victim of abuse at the hands of VPS, but he managed to walk away from the abuse unscathed. Ronaldo has admitted to both abuse while at Vasco da Gama and now he doesn’t think it would affect his play and his mental state of mind.)

The player’s father, Jorge Paulo, made it clear to his 11-year-old son that he needed a break, and

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