LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal and Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo confirmed Tuesday he has broken up with his longtime girlfriend, Russian model Irina Shayk.
"After dating for five years, my relationship with Irina Shayk has come to an end," Ronaldo said in a written statement sent exclusively to The Associated Press. "We believed it would be best for both of us to take this step now."
Ronaldo said he was making the statement to end speculation about their relationship and his private life. "I wish Irina the greatest happiness," he said.
He gave no further details in the brief statement.
The couple, both 29, have had huge international success and their relationship has featured in newspapers and magazines worldwide. They were not believed to be living together, as Ronaldo was based in the Spanish capital while Shayk traveled extensively.
Ronaldo recently picked up the Ballon d'Or after being voted the world's best player, but Shayk did not accompany him to the ceremony in Zurich. Her absence triggered rumors that their relationship was over. The couple remained silent despite days of intense media speculation.
Ronaldo retained football's highest individual honor after scoring 61 goals last year. His record tally of 17 in a Champions League season helped Madrid win an unprecedented 10th European Cup title.
Born in the Portuguese island of Madeira, Ronaldo played as a teenager for Sporting Lisbon before moving to Manchester United in 2003. He transferred to Real Madrid in 2009, building his reputation and his wealth through endorsements and sponsorships. He has millions of followers on social media.
Ronaldo has a 4-year-old son, called Cristiano Junior, but he has never disclosed the mother's identity.
GALLERY: Rare Cristiano Ronaldo photos
Rare Photos of Cristiano Ronaldo
A 23-month old Cristiano Ronaldo smiles for the camera.
Cristiano Ronaldo practices with Portugal U17.
Cristiano Ronaldo lies injured while playing for Sporting Lisbon before his transfer to the English Premiership team Manchester United.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United teammates Diego Forlan and Ruud van Nistelrooy pose with Casey Ogden during the players' annual visit to children's hospitals in Manchester.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the center of attention during an appearance on Herman SIC
Cristiano Ronaldo attends Christina Aguilera's Back to Basics tour at the Manchester Evening News Arena.
After giving Christmas gifts to a group of underprivileged children, Cristiano Ronaldo takes time to sign autographs.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu attend the debut of the New Seven Wonders of the World at Luz stadium in Lisbon.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Adrian Grenier strike a pose during a party in Hollywood.
Cristiano Ronaldo didn't let an injury get in the way of his beach time during a visit to Malibu.
Cristiano Ronaldo with his Barclays Player of the Year, Golden Boot and 30 League Goals awards at Carrington Training Ground in Manchester, England.
Cristiano Ronaldo autographs a team jersey for a Saudi man after arriving at King Khaled airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Cristiano Ronaldo kisses his "Golden Shoe 2008" award, presented to Europe's best goal scorer.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Portuguese national teammate Aziza Makukula pose in a cockpit on their way to Zurich.
WWE star Rey Mysterio with Cristiano Ronaldo as they visit Valdebebas in Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo with Russell Crowe during the actor's visit to Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani celebrate in the dressing room after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul Gonzalez pose with Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open tennis tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Da Silvano Restaurant in New York City after having lunch.
Cristiano Ronaldo and girlfriend, model Irina Shayk, watch Rafael Nadal serve during a tennis match on day nine of the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open.
Cristiano Ronaldo participates in a kart race with his Real Madrid teammates at Carlos Sainz Center in Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Irina Shayk attend the Marie Claire Prix de la Mode gala at the French Ambassador's Residence in Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Irina Shayk attend the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at La Caja Magica.
2012 Cristiano Ronaldo and Queen Sofia of Spain
Queen Sofia of Spain presents Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo with the Ibero-American Community Trophy during the National Sports Awards ceremony at El Pardo Palace in Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo leans in to kiss Irina Shayk as they attend the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at La Caja Magica.
Cristiano Ronaldo and former player David Beckham pose after a training session at UCLA Campus in Los Angeles.
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo kicks around a baseball as Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig looks on prior to the Dodgers game against the New York Yankees at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Cristiano Ronaldo launches his CR7 underwear line in Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo attends the unveiling of his wax figure at the Museo de Cera (Wax Museum) in Madrid.
FIFA Ballon d'Or nominee Cristiano Ronaldo, his son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr., and Irina Shayk arrive at the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2013 at the Kongresshaus in Zurich, Switzerland. Ronaldo won the award as FIFA top player over Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery.
FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo signals during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2014 at the Kongresshaus in Zurich, Switzerland.
Cristiano Ronaldo sprays his fragance 'Cristiano Ronaldo Legacy' at World Duty Free store at Barajas airport in Madrid.