Madonna considered relocating her family to Spain or Italy before settling on Portugal to help her son David realise his dream of becoming a professional sportsman.
The Material Girl superstar moved from New York to Lisbon last summer (17) with her four adopted children after 12-year-old David was accepted into the youth academy of famed Portuguese soccer club Benfica, and Madonna admits they focused on teams outside of the U.S. because it was clear the standard of coaching just couldn't compare to those in Europe.
Madonna reveals they had the options of heading to Barcelona, Spain and Turin, Italy too, as she searched for the best training facilities for her boy, but she ultimately chose Lisbon because the historic city had the most interesting and diverse culture to offer her young family.
"I went to all those places and tried to imagine myself living there," she explains to Vogue Italia. "Of course, Barcelona is a super fun city, and I like Turin as well, but Turin is not really a city for children. It's a city for intellectuals; they have incredible museums and beautiful homes, but I didn't think it would be fun for them... So I went to Lisbon, and it seemed the best all-around choice..."
Living in Lisbon has also allowed Madonna to share her passion for horse riding with her kids whenever David doesn't have a weekend match, but the singer admits becoming a soccer mum has been quite an adjustment.
"Any woman who is a soccer mum could say it kind of requires you to have no life in a way, because things change from week to week and games change from weekend to weekend...," Madonna laments. "It's impossible to make plans, and then you feel like you're not being fair to your other kids, or being fair to me (sic)!"
Luckily, David's younger siblings, five-year-old twins Stella and Esther, and Mercy, also 12, have all been happy to embrace the change of lifestyle, but Madonna insists she has never pushed David or her elder children, Lourdes and Rocco, into specific career paths.
"A lot of people say to me, 'You must really want your son to be a successful soccer player, your oldest daughter (Lourdes) to be a dancer, Rocco to be a painter,'" she shares. "And I always say, 'No, what I want my children to be is loving, compassionate, responsible human beings.' That's all I want. I don't care what the vehicle is, I just want them to be good human beings that treat other human beings with dignity and respect, regardless of skin colour, religion, gender.
"This is the most important thing, you know what I mean? If they happen to be the next Picasso or (Portuguese soccer ace) Cristiano Ronaldo, then great, that's just the cherry on the cake."