Did Ronaldo really turn down Pepsi deal worth millions of dollars because it ‘funded Israeli soldiers?’

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A video claiming that the Portuguese and Real Madrid footballing hero Cristiano Ronaldo has rejected a multi-million dollar deal by Pepsi to protest against the company’s role in funding Israeli soldiers, has been doing the rounds on WhatsApp.

Pepsi
Photo: Israeli TV

In the viral video (watch below), it’s claimed that the Portuguese superstar also refused to swap T-shirt with an Israeli player after a match because his ‘hands were soacked with blood (of Palestinians).’

The video recorded in a news studio set-up has an incredibly dramatic voiceover with the narrator stating that ‘there are some people who respond to their conscience and choose to walk on the path of humanity.’

“The world’s most famous footballer Ronaldo has rejected an ad deal worth crores of rupees by saying that he could not be a part of a brand that gave donations to Israeli army, the killer of lakhs of innocent people,” says the voiceover in the viral video.

The video doesn’t have any clips of Ronaldo in support of the claim or reference to any news source. It then quickly goes on to state, “Ronaldo also posted this video for the Syrian children calling them the real heroes, who are surviving despite so much of brutalities against them.”

Here, the makers of the viral video has added a clip of Ronaldo extending his support for the children of Syria. But the way it’s been included soon after the claims on Ronaldo snubbing Pepsi in solidarity of Palestinians appears to be a clever exercise to lend credibility to an unverified claim. The video on Syria was posted Ronaldo in 2016 (see below) and not after the recent fighting that has killed more 600 civilians.

Ronaldo extending support to Syrian children in 2016 was widely reported. Here are some of the links to The Washington Post, London’s Daily Mail and Metro websites.

Unlike the coverage on Ronaldo’s support for the Syrian children, there hasn’t been any coverage to his ‘snubbing’ of Pepsi. It’s unthinkable that one of the world’s most famous footballers taking a stand on Israel and Palestine would have gone unnoticed at a time when the goings on in the middle-east considerably impact the news agenda of the international news organisations. The only coverage given to what appears to be a mere hearsay is by nondescript websites New Muslim Voice and  Bindas Entertainment. Bindas Entertainment website has disappeared from the internet now. Once again, both these websites had simply stated their unverified claims without substantiating it with any credible sources.

Ronaldo and Pepsi were in news in 2013 when the latter was forced to apologise for viral adverts in Sweden showing a Cristiano Ronaldo voodoo doll.

Ronaldo
From TV advert

Contrary to the claims made in the viral video, it seems Ronaldo has had absolutely no problem in associating his name with Israeli brands. He’s been a brand ambassador for Israeli telecommunications company HOT in the past. He had recorded as many as three adverts for the company while pushing its claims on faster internet in Israel in 2016. In fact, the Real Madrid star had come under severe criticism from pro-Palestinian groups on social media for aligning his name to a Israeli company.

In the viral video, another claim being made is that Ronaldo had refused to exchange his football T-shirt with an Israeli player after a match because he said ‘he can never exchange his T-shirt any player whose hands are soacked with blood.’

This claim has been made in several YouTube videos, watched by millions of people since 2013. According to one YouTube video (watched more than one million times) the match, where Ronaldo ‘refused’ to exchange his T-shirt with an Israeli player was during PSG (French club  vs Barcelona. Ranolado has never played for Barcelona. Other videos too make similar claims but nowhere is Ronaldo seen refusing to exchange his T-shirt with an Israeli player.

It’s, therefore, clear that the claims made on Ronaldo’s stand against Israel are far from truth.

 

 

 

 

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