Rio Ferdinand feels like he’s experiencing fatherhood for the first time with his son Cree because he was away so much with his other kids.
The former Manchester United star, 42, welcomed his fourth child with wife Kate before Christmas.
He also has three children Lorenz, 14, Tate, 12, and Tia, nine, who he shared with his late wife, Rebecca, who passed away in 2015. He admitted that his sacrifices as a footballer made him miss out on a lot of their lives.
“We think as dads, we are doing a great job and we are there all the time but we’re not. We’re just dipping in and out because we are travelling so much,” he explained.
“I was probably not there 75 per cent of the time. I was on the road travelling around Europe and playing games. When I was there, was I really there mentally? I used that excuse, ‘Oh I’ve got a game’ – I probably left an hour early if I’m being honest.”
Rio went on: “For all elite sportsmen, their families play second fiddle to their careers. The family is the sacrifice. I didn’t go to countless family functions. I missed birthdays, I missed so many things, I missed the births of one of my kids.
“As a sportsman, you have to accept missing milestones whereas it’s reversed a little bit now; my family is the centrepoint of everything. Any job I take, they are very much are made aware of the family dynamics now because that’s where my life is at right now. So this is like doing it for the first time properly, so it’s really nice in that sense.”
Rio, who married Kate, the 29-year-old former TOWIE star in 2019, admitted that the lockdown had also forced him to be a more hands on parent too.