July 7, 2010 -- Portugese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is an international sex symbol who could arguably have any woman in the world, but it appears what he wanted more than anything was a baby.
The 25-year-old star of Real Madrid announced last Saturday on Facebook and Twitter that he had become the father of a baby boy. What's more, it seems the world's top-paid soccer player -- Ronaldo reportedly earns more than $250,000 per week -- will bring up the baby without any help from the unnamed American mother who was reportedly paid to serve as a surrogate.
"It is with great joy and emotion that I inform I have recently become father to a baby boy," Ronaldo said on his Facebook page. "As agreed with the baby's mother, who prefers to have her identity kept confidential, my son will be under my exclusive guardianship.
"No further information will be provided on this subject and I request everyone to fully respect my right to privacy (and that of the child) at least on issues as personal as these are," he wrote.
Ronaldo's agent confirmed the announcement in the U.K.'s Daily Mail, saying only, "Yes, it's true. We make no further comment." He did not respond to requests for comment from ABCNews.com.
If the reports are true, Ronaldo would not be the first male celebrity to hire a surrogate to have his children. Michael Jackson is perhaps the most famous; his third child Blanket was conceived that way. Ricky Martin announced in 2008 that he had become the father of twins with the help of a surrogate.
For a reputed playboy who has been linked to tennis player Maria Sharapova, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, Ronaldo's extraordinary announcement sent shockwaves across the country -- more than 28,000 fans posted mostly glowing comments to his Facebook page.
But one person who appeared unfazed by the news was his current girlfriend, Russian underwear model Irina Shayk.
The couple was spotted by the New York Post spending a romantic Fourth of July weekend in New York. Though the Daily Mail initially reported that Shayk was devastated by her boyfriend's announcement, the model's spokesman, Ryan Brown, told ABCNews.com that was untrue. He pointed to the New York Post story as evidence that the couple is still happy and doing well.
Brown said reports that Shayk posted a message on her Facebook page that she knew nothing of the birth and was left in tears were also false. He said the Facebook page was a fake and Shayk "doesn't comment on her personal life."
Ronaldo Becomes Single Dad
Indeed, the only mention of Ronaldo's baby on Shayk's official Facebook fan page came from worried fans.
"Irina I'm so sorry ... You're beautiful and intelligent, why CR deceived you?" one fan wrote.
"A girl with your attributes does not need this guy for anything," a male fan wrote.
There have been plenty of conflicting reports surrounding the baby, too.
On Sunday, Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha said Ronaldo's son was born in early June and that the player's mother, Dolores, and sisters Elma and Katia were preparing to take the child from America to Portugal, where they planned to raise him.
The paper said that Ronaldo paid an American woman to carry the baby as a surrogate.
Meanwhile, Portugese newspaper Diario de Noticias reported that the baby was conceived at the end of last summer in San Diego and was born June 17, weighing more than 9 pounds.
The paper added that the baby was already in Portugal at the family home in the resort area of Vilamoura and Ronaldo traveled there to meet his new boy June 29 after Portugal was eliminated from the World Cup.
Speaking to Diario de Noticias, his sister Katia said the baby resembled his father. "He has brown eyes and brown hair like Cristiano."
"He's very happy, of course!" she said of her brother. "Who isn't happy having children? The baby looks like him, although he's still very small to see what his features will be like."
"He's very calm. He just eats and sleeps," she said.
It appears Ronaldo had always planned to have children. In a recent interview, he cryptically said that day might come "sooner rather than later."
Even before then, Ronaldo was talking about having a baby before marriage. In a 2007 interview with Hello! magazine, he said he often fantasizes about being a dad.
"The idea of the responsibility frightens me but also excites me," he said. "When I am with the children in the family I get broody."
Ronaldo also dresses up every year as Santa Claus and surprises the children in his family.
The soccer star said in 2007 that he hoped any future son would want to follow in his footsteps.
"I would be very proud if my child became a footballer and had similar characteristics to me," he admitted.