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HomeFact CheckCristiano Ronaldo Quits Football In Protest Of 'Elon Musk’s Takeover Of Manchester...

Cristiano Ronaldo Quits Football In Protest Of ‘Elon Musk’s Takeover Of Manchester United’? Here’s What We Found

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Elon Musk who is currently making the headlines for his Twitter takeover, jolted social media platforms after a video purportedly showing the billionaire announcing his plans to buy football club Manchester United went viral. The video further features a tweet by Musk saying “Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome,” and an alleged reaction to the same by ‘Red Devils’ famous footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. Newschecker found the video to be digitally manipulated.

The viral video shows  Musk saying, “I am buying Manchester United because I love Ronaldo. I hope we become friends.” A few seconds later, Ronaldo can be purportedly seen saying, “I am leaving football because Elon Musk is buying my club…”

The video is going viral on Facebook and Instagram .

Links to such posts can be found here, here, and here.

It has also found its way to YouTube

Links to such YouTube video can be found here and here.

Also Read: Queen Elizabeth II Requested Cristiano Ronaldo’s Signed Jersey? Old Claim Revived

Fact Check/Verification

We began by determining whether Elon Musk is considering buying Manchester United Football Club or not. A keyword search for “Elon Musk,” & “Man United” on Google threw up several news reports from mid August elaborating on the SpaceX CEO’s “joke” on Twitter.

Screengrab from Google search

In a tweet dated August 17, 2022, Musk had said, “Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome,” sending social media users into a frenzy. However, soon after he had clarified in the same thread that his earlier tweet was a joke. Musk tweeted,  “No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams.”

Screengrab from tweet by @elonmusk

Further, we looked up “Elon Musk, “Man United, “Ronaldo” on YouTube which yielded videos uploaded on the platforms over the past few months. These videos mostly featured only Musk’s snippet from the viral clip.

We noticed TikTok’s watermark on one such video. It is likely that viral clip has been doing the rounds on the short-video platform since Musk’s “joke” in mid August, and has now reached other social media platforms amid hype around the billionaire’s Twitter takeover.

Screengrab from YouTube video by Shishir Dkl

Following this, we conducted Google searches for “Musk to buy Man united,” “Elon Musk Man United,  ” and “Elon Musk to buy football club,” but did not find any credible report stating that the SpaceX CEO now wants to acquire the British club. Additionally, we did not find any social media post by Musk announcing his new venture.

Notably, despite some disputes, Ronaldo is still a part of Manchester United by the time of publishing this article.

Newschecker could thus conclude that neither has Musk offered to buy Manchester United, nor has Cristiano Ronaldo quit football.

Investigating Viral Video

We continued our investigation to ascertain the authenticity of the viral clip, and conducted a Google reverse image search on one of the keyframes showing Elon Musk. The search led us to YouTube video by 7NEWS Australia, dated December 30, 2021, titled ‘Elon Musk says he could put people on Mars in 5 years from now.’

Screengrab from YouTube video by 7NEWS Australia,

The video featured snippets from Lex Fridman’s Podcast featuring Elon Musk. Taking a clue, we conducted a keyword search for “Lex Fridman,” & “Elon Musk” on YouTube and found a 2 hours 31 minutes conservation video between the two.

Uploaded on Fridman’s official YouTube channel on December 29, 2021, the video titled ‘Elon Musk: SpaceX, Mars, Tesla Autopilot, Self-Driving, Robotics, and AI | Lex Fridman Podcast #252,’ showed the host discussing a range of topics with Musk including his thinking process, human journey to Mars, Russian language, among others.

Screengrab from YouTube video by Lex Fridman

On comparing the frames of the viral footage showing Musk with the YouTube video, we could conclude that both were from the same interview.

(L-R) Screengrab from viral video and screengrab from YouTube video by Lex Fridman

Further, Newschecker analysed the entire video first hand and did not find any mention of Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo or football in the entire discussion between Fridman and Musk.

The description of the video, which enlisted the key points covered in the podcast, did not mention anything about football either.

Screengrab from description of YouTube video by Lx Fridman

We also looked up “Manchester United,” “Ronaldo,” & “football” in the transcripts of the podcast, but did not find any result.

On carefully analysing the viral video, we spotted that Musk’s lip movements did not match the audio. Additionally, in the visuals showing Musk saying “I hope we become friends,” the audio ends before he is seen to stop talking.

We could thus conclude that Musk’s video has been digitally edited to give an impression that he was talking about buying Man United.

Following this, we conducted a Google reverse image search on keyframes of the viral video showing Cristiano Ronaldo and found a report by Sky Sports, dated January 13 January 2022, titled ‘Cristiano Ronaldo says Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick needs time to implement his ideas at Old Trafford.’

The report carried a video in which Ronaldo can be seen in the same attire as seen in the viral clip. Taking a clue, we looked up the title of the report on YouTube  which led to a video by Sky Sports Premier League, dated January 14, 2022, titled “I’m not at Man Utd to compete for 6th or 7th!” | Cristiano Ronaldo says Ralf Rangnick needs time.

Screenshot of YouTube video by Sky Sports Premier League

A comparison between keyframes of the viral footage and the YouTube video led us to conclude that both were indeed from Ronaldo’s same interview. Notably, we carefully analysed the 21-minute-long-video, but did not spot Ronaldo making any comments of exiting Man United or Elon Musk.

(L-R) Screenshot of viral video and Screenshot of YouTube video by Sky Sports Premier League

Furthermore, a closer look at Cristiano Ronaldo in the viral video showed stiffness around his lips while speaking, and that the lips repeat the same motion in loop. This led us to conclude it is actually a deep fake video.

We could thus conclude that the viral video claiming to show Musk talking about buying Manchester United and Ronaldo’s response to it has been edited.

Conclusion

Viral posts claiming that Ronaldo is quitting football as a reaction to Elon Musk’s announcement regarding buying Manchester United are false. Both the videos have been digitally altered.

Result: Altered Video

Sources

Tweet By Elon Musk, Dated August 17, 2022
YouTube Video By Lex Fridman, Dated December 29, 2021
YouTube Video By Sky Sports Premier League, Dated January 14, 2022
Self Analysis


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

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