A married mother-of-two has come forward to identify herself as one of the McDonald’s workers who gave Cristiano Ronaldo burgers when he used to beg for food as a child.
The 34-year-old Juventus striker launched an appeal to find the mystery McDonald’s employees including one called Edna during an ITV interview with Piers Morgan.
He recalled how he and other youngsters at his boyhood club Sporting Lisbon would knock on the door of a McDonald’s next to the stadium, and be given food by Edna and ‘two other girls’ he never found again.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner said he would like to invite the trio to Turin or Lisbon to have dinner with him if they were ever found.
Today Paula Leca came forward to say she was one of the three women, and would happily accept a dinner invite from the star footballer.
Cristiano Ronaldo launched an appeal to find the mystery McDonald’s employees including one called Edna during an ITV interview with Piers Morgan this week
Today Paula Leca came forward to say she was one of the three women who would hand out burgers to the boys of Sporting Lisbon, and would happily accept a dinner invite from the star footballer
Cristiano Ronaldo with his parents at the age of 10. He has admitted to never really knowing his father
She told Portuguese radio station Renascenca: ‘They would appear in front of the restaurant and when there were hamburgers left over our manager would give us permission to hand them over.
‘One of the boys was Cristiano Ronaldo who was perhaps the most timid of them all.
‘This happened almost every night each week.’
‘I still laugh about it all now. I had already told my son about it but he thought it was a fib because he couldn’t imagine his mum ever giving Cristiano Ronaldo a hamburger.
‘My husband already knew about it, because sometimes he would go to pick me up from work at night and he also saw him.
‘It’s funny to go back now to something that happened so long ago. It shows his humility. At least now people know this wasn’t an invention.
The mother-of-two said Ronaldo’s offer of dinner ‘shows his humility’
Ms Leca said today: ‘I’m here thinking about the twists and turns in life. I didn’t think Karma existed but I’m beginning to believe now that it does.’
‘If he invited me out for dinner, I’d go for sure. The first thing I’d do would be to say thank you and during the meal we would have time to remember those times.’
Paula, whose husband is called Jose Costa and told the radio station she had sadly lost contact with her former boss Edna, took to Facebook today to say: ‘I’m here thinking about the twists and turns in life.
‘I didn’t think Karma existed but I’m beginning to believe now that it does.’
A friend replied ‘Good people always deserve good things.’
Ronaldo was praised this week after his interview with Morgan in which he revealed struggles with fame and the memory of his father.
Ronaldo said that, wherever he goes, he is mobbed by fans and it makes his family nervous.
Viewers praised Ronaldo for being honest, open and down-to-earth during the interview.
At one point, Ronaldo broke down in tears as he watched a clip of his father expressing his pride in him in a 2004 interview, shortly before his death.
Cristiano Ronaldo broke down in tears during an interview with Piers Morgan after watching a clip of his father
The Juventus star was overcome with emotion after seeing footage of his late father he hadn’t seen before
The £530,000-a-week footballer, who has the most Instagram followers in the world and is worth a reported £500million, also said that there are only four people in the world who he trusts completely.
During the interview, Morgan asked Ronaldo: ‘Is it suffocating being you?’
The footballer replied: ‘Being me is boring. A part of it is fantastic. Being famous, first page of the newspaper and TV. But after 15 years, after all this time, I want some privacy.
‘In the last ten years, my privacy has gone. I haven’t been to the park with my kids. If I go, people turn up and my kids are nervous, my girlfriend is nervous, I’m nervous.
‘When you are in public, you cannot be yourself. It’s boring. I want to be free again.
‘I’m not going to say names, because I don’t think it is fair. But I will say four persons, 100 per cent trust, four persons.
‘I have very close friends, family, but who I trust 100 per cent, it’s maybe four persons. This life is like that.’
Ronaldo also spoke about his family, including his girlfriend, and discussed the rape allegation made against him.
Fans took to social media to praise the footballer and hail him for his honesty.
One fan wrote: ‘It’s clear to see in the interview what an amazing, humble, emotional and down to earth person Cristiano Ronaldo really is.
‘Yes, he can sometimes appear as arrogant, but that’s all because he wants to be the very best! Respect! Great interview.’
Ronaldo has four children and also spoke about marrying his girlfriend, Georgina Rodriguez, one day.
The footballer also talked about his drive to be the best and how he believes his strongest asset is his mind.
He said: ‘My obsession to win, to have success. I worked for that. Talent is not enough.
Talking about Georgina, Ronaldo said: ‘She helped me so much. Of course I’m in love for her’
Cristiano Ronaldo and girlfriend Georgina Rodríguez with all four of the sportsman’s children as they jetted off on a private plane in June
‘I am addicted to winning, the success. I don’t chase the records, they chase me.’
He admitted to worrying whether his son would have the same drive, since, in comparison to himself, he has grown up in luxury.
Ronaldo admitted that he wanted to see his son ‘suffer a little bit’, so he’d have the same drive to succeed.
He said: ‘I’m gonna motivate and push him. I just hope and pray he will be like me
‘He can be whatever he wants. Just a little bit of pressure.’
Morgan also showed Ronaldo a clip of his father speaking about him, which moved the footballer to tears.
Ronaldo admitted he hadn’t seen the clip before and said: ‘I never saw the video. I never saw that video. Unbelievable.
‘I think the interview would be funny, but I didn’t expect to cry. But I never saw these images. I don’t know where you… I have to have these images to show my family.
‘But I really don’t know my father 100 per cent. He was a drunk person. I never spoke with him, like a normal conversation. It was hard.’
Jose Dinis Aveiro was an alcoholic and died of liver failure at the age of 52 in 2005
Ronaldo was just 20 when his father passed away, meaning he missed many of the biggest moments of his football career.
These include winning five Champions League titles and five Ballon d’Ors as well as leading his country to Euro 2016 and Nations League glory. He also missed the birth of Ronaldo’s four children.
Ronaldo said his father was affected by wars in Mozambique and Angola and added: ‘To be the number one and he don’t see nothing, and he don’t see me receive awards, to see what I became.
‘My family see, my mum, my brothers, even my old son, but my father, he didn’t see nothing, and it was… he died young.’
Quizzed about the rape allegations made against him by American model Kathryn Mayorga, Ronaldo admitted that 2018 was the hardest year of his life.
However, he strongly denied the claims and admitted that they left him embarrassed.
He said: ‘It makes you feel so bad. One day I was at home in the living room with my girlfriend and then the news they speak about Cristiano Ronaldo, this and that.
‘You listen to you kids coming down the stairs and you change the channel because I was embarrassed, I feel embarrassed.
‘They play with your dignity. It’s hard. You have a girlfriend, family, children. I told my mum, ”relax you know your son, nothing’s going to happen”.
‘But she’s an older person. It was so hard.’
Ronaldo also revealed he plans to marry his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez one day.
Talking about her, Ronaldo said: ‘She helped me so much. Of course I’m in love for her.
‘We’ll be (married) one day, for sure. It’s my mum’s dream as well. So, one day. Why not?
‘It’s great. She’s my friend. We have conversations. I open the heart for her and she open the heart for me.’
At the end of the interview, Piers also gave Ronaldo a personalised Arsenal shirt, quizzing him on how close he came to signing for the London club in the past
On a lighter note, Ronaldo also bragged about owning 17 cars, including Bugattis, Ferraris and Rolls Royces.
He also shared a story about how he and friend Ricardo, a fellow footballer, once used disguises to sneak into a Madrid club for a New Year’s Eve party.
Viewers were shown a picture of him and his friend wearing a wig and glasses with Ronaldo describing them as looking like rockstars.
He said it was ‘one of the best nights’ of his life because of the anonymity the costume gave him.