Ronaldo’s Act Of Solidarity With Palestinians?

A few weeks ago, Israel drew against Portugal in a World Cup qualifier, after squandering a lead at the death knell of the game. But the news I missed until today is that Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo did not exchange his shirt with any Israeli player, prompting palestinian supporters to claim it was a deliberate snub in show of support for their cause.

ronaldinoPalestinian supporters claim Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo publicly endorsed their 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.

However it is unclear whether this was a deliberate snub from the world’s most expensive player, who appeared angry and frustrated throughout the match.

In the build-up to the game, Ronaldo posted a picture of himself and his teammates in Tel Aviv on his Facebook page, describing it as a “great morning”. The comment drew a torrent of protest from Palestinians.

Despite the ambiguity, those who support an independent Palestine were quick to hail Ronaldo’s actions after the final whistle on Friday. A video of the alleged snub was posted on YouTube, attracting dozens of messages of support.

This is not the first time claims have been made of Ronaldo solidarity with the palestinians.

Only Ronaldo himself knows whether his act was a political statement or an act of frustration at his team’s performance. But given the rumors, the absence of a statement from him on the matter would seem to indicate – at the very least – that he does not mind this perception.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media