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HomeFact CheckCristiano Ronaldo Supporting Palestine? Viral Video Comprises Edited, Misleading Visuals

Cristiano Ronaldo Supporting Palestine? Viral Video Comprises Edited, Misleading Visuals

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Ruby leads editorial, operations and initiatives at Newschecker. In her former avatar at New Delhi Television (NDTV), India’s leading national news network, she was a news anchor, supervising producer and senior output editor. Her over a decade-long career encompasses ground-breaking reportage from conflict zones and reporting on terror incidents, election campaigns, and gender issues. Ruby is an Emmy-nominated producer and has handled both local and international assignments, including the coverage of Arab Spring in 2011, the US Presidential elections in 2016, and ground reportage on the Kashmir issue since 2009.

Claim
Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has shown support for Palestine in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Fact
Video comprises altered visuals and has been shared with unrelated captions.

A video, purportedly showing Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo extending his support to Palestine, has gone viral on social media amid the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. 

There has been a significant interest online in celebrities who support Palestine or Israel with several news articles, seen here, here and here, collating their statements and views on the conflict. Ronaldo, who is currently plying his trade with Saudi Arabian football club Al Nassr, has again become the subject of various claims on social media, particularly regarding whether does Ronaldo support Palestine or Israel. 

Also Read: Did Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo wrap himself with the Palestinian flag on the field?

Screengrab taken from viral video 

The recent viral video on Ronaldo’s alleged support for Palestine makes multiple claims, which we have debunked in this article:

Claim 1 

Ronaldo refused to shake hands with the “Israeli president” after receiving a medal.

Screengrab taken from viral video

Fact Check/Verification

Newschecker first ran a keyword search for “Palestine Cristiano Ronaldo support”, “does Ronaldo support Palestine”, which did not throw up any credible news reports of a recent pro-Palestine statement by the footballer. 

Viral video found to be online since 2019

A reverse image search of the frame pertaining to the first claim of Ronaldo refusing to shake hands with the “Israeli president” after receiving a medal, led us to this ESPN Australia and NZ tweet, dated December 23, 2019, stating, “Ronaldo wasn’t impressed with his runners-up medal after Juventus lost the Italian Super Cup to Lazio.” 

Reports by international media organisations on the incident can be seen here, here and here, with none of them stating that the Israeli president was part of the presentation ceremony.

Man seen in the video is not Israel’s President

At the time when this video was posted online, which we have confirmed to be in 2019, Reuven Rivlin held the position of the tenth president of Israel, serving from 2014 to 2021. A comparison of official photographs of Rivlin indicates that the individual identified as the Israeli president in the viral video (seen on the right) is not Reuven Rivlin (pictured on the left).

Image taken from Rivlin’s Twitter account.
Screengrab from the viral video.

In fact, further investigation led us to several reports, as evidenced here and here, confirming that the individual in the video is Luca Ferrari, an Italian politician who was serving as Italy’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia at that particular time.

Image courtesy: Arab News

Result: False

Claim 2

Ronaldo expressed his support for Gaza and Palestine by displaying two placards. One of them read, “I love Gaza and You?” while the second one stated, “Todos Con Palestine,” which translates to “Everyone with Palestine” in Spanish.

Fact Check/Verification

Ronaldo’s viral photo found to be digitally altered

Conducting a keyword search related to the assertion presented in the second viral video, which purportedly features Ronaldo exhibiting signs in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, directed us to a tweet dated June 18, 2022, by Kian Sharifi, who serves as the editorial lead for Iran at BBC Monitoring.

As per the tweet, an image portraying Ronaldo holding a sign that said, “Todo con Lorca,” in relation to the 2011 Lorca earthquake, which claimed the lives of 9 people, was manipulated or altered. Our investigation revealed that during that time, Ronaldo, who was a member of the Real Madrid team, had indeed visited the earthquake-stricken areas to express his support for the victims.

Cristiano Ronaldo holds a sign during his Lorca visit. Image courtesy: All About Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro.

In December 2022, Al Jazeera reported that Ronaldo has never issued any public statements on the Israel-Palestine conflict, despite false reports and doctored photos emerging periodically online. This suggests that Ronaldo has consistently been exploited by malicious actors seeking to create the illusion of his support for either side, thereby inciting strong reactions from the public.

The report stated, “An image of Ronaldo holding a sign saying “Together with the Palestinians” in Spanish that was widely shared online was also doctored and was in fact an expression of support for the victims of an earthquake in Spain in 2011”. The report further noted that Ronaldo had been photographed wearing a Palestinian scarf, when in fact that flag represented the  Palestinian Football Association. Additionally, he has met with various Israeli ministers and had been photographed presenting one of his football jerseys to the former Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz.

Result: False

There have been multiple cases of misinformation concerning the footballer and the conflict till as far back as 2012, including a purported Ronaldo donation to Palestine, debunked by several media outlets, including AP and AFP.

Also Read: 2016 ISIS Execution Video Falsely Linked To Israel-Palestine Conflict

Sources
Image analysis
Tweet, ESPN Australia and NZ, December 23, 2019
Tweet, Kian Sharifi, June 18, 2022
France24 report, June 24, 2022
Al Jazeera report, December 26, 2022


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Ruby leads editorial, operations and initiatives at Newschecker. In her former avatar at New Delhi Television (NDTV), India’s leading national news network, she was a news anchor, supervising producer and senior output editor. Her over a decade-long career encompasses ground-breaking reportage from conflict zones and reporting on terror incidents, election campaigns, and gender issues. Ruby is an Emmy-nominated producer and has handled both local and international assignments, including the coverage of Arab Spring in 2011, the US Presidential elections in 2016, and ground reportage on the Kashmir issue since 2009.

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