JNN 13 July 2014 Rio de Janeiro : Portuguese Football Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo publicly endorsed Palestinian cause by refusing to swap shirts with Israeli players during Friday’s World Cup qualifier in Tel Aviv.
After the match Ronaldo walked straight off the pitch rather than exchange his shirt for an opposition player’s, a ritual which is common in international football. He appeared to chat briefly to one Israeli player, before walking away.
After the match, an Israeli player removing his shirt offered it to Ronaldo, who refused because he could not agree to wear a T Shirt on which there was the flag of the State of Israel.
Ronaldo said: “I do not exchange my shirt with ASSASSINS”
This was a phrase used by the Portuguese star Cristiano at a meeting after a friendly playoff between Israel and Portugal before the World Cup.
After the match, an Israeli player removing his shirt offered it to Ronaldo, who refused because he could not agree to wear a jersey on which there was the flag of the State of Israel.
In the locker room when reporters asked him why he had refused to exchange his jersey, he said “I do not exchange my shirt with Assassins ” .
Ronaldo has expressed support for Palestine several times in the past. The former Manchester United winger previously donated a part of his earnings to charities dedicated to building schools in Gaza.
Last November, Real Madrid’s official Arabic website posted news of Ronaldo donating £1.2 million to Palestinian children. The 28-year-old gave away his Golden Boot award to the Real Madrid foundation, which later put it up for auction to raise money for building schools in Palestine.
During his time at Manchester United, Ronaldo was spotted sporting the keffiyeh, an item of headgear which rose in prominence in the Arab world in the 1960s with the beginning of the Palestinian resistance movement and its adoption by Palestinian politician Yasser Arafat.
A Real Euro-star: Cristiano Ronaldo, who became the world’s most expensive footballer when he joined Real Madrid for £80 million from Manchester United, made his full international debut for Portugal in 2003.