José Dinis Aveiro, commonly known as “Zeze,” was a man of many passions, chief among them his love for his family and his favorite sport, soccer. Though he may not be a household name, his influence on the life of one of the world’s greatest soccer players, his son Cristiano Ronaldo, is immeasurable. In this blog post, we’ll explore the fascinating life of José Dinis Aveiro, from his humble beginnings in Madeira, to his untimely death in 2005, and the impact he continues to have on Ronaldo’s life and career.
José Dinis Aveiro was born on September 15, 1954, in São Pedro, a small village on the island of Madeira, Portugal. He grew up in poverty, one of seven siblings, and had to work hard from a young age to help support his family. Despite these challenges, José was a happy, personable young man who loved to play soccer. He was a gifted striker and played for several local clubs, earning the nickname “Zeze” along the way.
After he married his wife, Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, José started a family and settled into a career as a kit man for a local soccer team. He was beloved by players and staff alike for his infectious enthusiasm and his ability to make everyone feel at home. Even when his son Cristiano began showing promise on the soccer field, José never pressured him to play nor gave him any special treatment. Instead, he focused on instilling a strong work ethic in Cristiano and supporting him in any way he could.
Sadly, José’s life was cut short in 2005 when he died of alcoholism at the age of 51. His death was a devastating blow to his family, especially Cristiano, who was 20 years old at the time and just starting his professional soccer career. José had always been Cristiano’s biggest supporter, the person he could turn to for advice or a pep talk when he was feeling down. Losing him was a huge loss, but it also spurred Cristiano to honor his father’s memory by becoming the best soccer player he could be.
To this day, Cristiano Ronaldo honors his father in a number of ways. He has a tattoo on his left arm reading “Dinheiro” (the Portuguese word for money), which was José’s nickname, and he frequently posts tributes to his father on social media. He also named his eldest son after his father and is known for pointing to the sky after scoring a goal, a gesture he says is meant for his father.
José Dinis Aveiro was a man who lived a humble and hardworking life, but his impact on the world will always be felt through his son, Cristiano Ronaldo. Though he passed away too soon, he instilled in his son a love of family, a strong work ethic, and a passion for soccer that have helped make Ronaldo one of the greatest athletes of all time. José’s story is a reminder that even the most ordinary-seeming people can have an extraordinary impact on the world.