Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been tangled in a internet controversy following his involvement as the new face of an Israeli pay-per-view television network which also provides internet services.
Ronaldo surprised a group of shocked Israeli footballers in an advertising video when he turns up in the dressing room having signed for the home side and even saying “neshamá” (my soul) in Hebrew, much to the surprise of everyone present, something which has brought a barrage of criticism from angry Palestinians.
The advert introduces the speedy internet service that users can receive, which can be “even faster than Ronaldo”.
Despite being a newbie in the dressing room, the Portuguese star tells one of his teammates, who has the number 7 shirt, that it is his number and the player immediately takes it off and gives it to him. Ronaldo tweeted, in a reference to the advertising campaign, that “there are rumours I’m going to be a star in Israel… Not in soccer… in an advert by Hot”, the Israeli company, before posting a link to the advert.
Tweeters were quick to respond, some of them accusing him of “being disrespectful” and others asking him to “cancel it”. His harshest critics went as far as asking “What is Israel?” or “You mean Palestine?”. Others simply said: “My hero is Messi from now on”.