Ronaldo has never issued any public statements supporting Palestine.
Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo was a victim of “a political ban” at the Qatar World Cup over his alleged support for the Palestinian cause.
“They have wasted Ronaldo. Unfortunately, they have imposed a political ban on him,” Erdogan said on Sunday while speaking at a youth event in eastern Erzurum.
“Sending a footballer like Ronaldo to the pitch with just 30 minutes remaining to the match ruined his psychology and took away his energy,” he added, expressing his disappointment that a great player like Ronaldo was benched during some of his team’s tournament matches and could only play for 15 to 30 minutes.
Ronaldo’s World Cup exit capped a turbulent few weeks that began with an explosive interview with Piers Morgan and ended with the termination of his contract at Manchester United and rumours of a move to Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr.
The Portuguese captain was surrounded by controversy during the World Cup following head coach Fernando Santos’ decision to bench him in Portugal’s 6-1 thrashing of Switzerland.
Later, rumours spread that during Seleço das Quinas’ brief run in the elimination round in Qatar, Ronaldo had threatened to walk out on the team. Portugal denied those reports.
Coach Santos benched the 37 year-old again during the match against Morocco, rendering Ronaldo a substitute in the game’s second half.
Following the loss against Morocco, Ronaldo, the only player to score in five separate World Cups, said that his dream of winning a World Cup has “ended”, hinting at potential retirement from the Portugal team.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid footballer has never made a public statement on Israel’s occupation of Palestine despite reports and photoshopped images appearing on the internet on a regular basis.
A sports management company representing Ronaldo denied in 2019 that he had donated 1.5 million euros ($1.59 million) to Palestinians after auctioning off a golden boot award.
A fabricated image of Ronaldo holding a sign that said “Together with the Palestinians” in Spanish was also widely shared online, which was actually an expression of support for the victims of a 2011 earthquake in Spain.
Even though Ronaldo has never publicly expressed supporting for Palestine, he has been pictured with a Palestinian scarf around his shoulders representing the Palestinian Football Association, whilst standing next to the head of the association, Jibril Rajoub.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo has been vocal in his support for Syrian refugees having been a Save the Children Global Artist Ambassador since 2013. He has made generous donations to provide immediate life-saving relief to children and families in Syria, calling them “true heroes”.
The football player has also met with several Israeli ministers and was photographed handing one of his football shirts to ex-Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz.