Iranian TV fabricates soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo declaring his hatred of Israeli ‘assassins’

The report featured a false translation and a misleading photoshop meant to portray soccer star as anti-Israel.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

Iran’s state TV has falsely quoted Portuguese soccer legend, Cristiano Ronaldo, as saying that he dislikes Israeli soccer fans and calls them “assassins.”

During a report that aired on June 15, Iranian state television showed a video clip of the Manchester United striker speaking, falsely translating him as saying: “Israeli football fans, for me, are the most hated. I cannot tolerate them. I won’t exchange my shirts with assassins.”

However, Ronaldo never made those remarks, news outlet Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on Monday.

Iran’s official broadcaster used footage from a 2016 video that Ronaldo recorded for Save The Children, the London-based humanitarian organization, Radio Free Europe reported. In the original English-language video, Ronaldo drew attention to the struggle Syrian children faced during that country’s brutal civil war.

“This is for the children of Syria,” Ronaldo said in the video. “We know that you have been suffering a lot. I am a very famous player. But you are the true heroes. Don’t lose your hope. The world is with you. We care about you. I am with you.”

Ronaldo was also dubbed as saying in the Iranian report: “If I say that I like the Quds occupying regime just one time, FIFA will select me as the player of the year.”

The report also featured what it claimed was footage of Ronaldo refusing to exchange shirts with an Israeli soccer player following a match on June 9. In reality, the player was Aron Gunnarsson, the captain of Iceland’s national soccer team, and the footage was from 2016, according to Radio Free Europe.

The report additionally included an image of Ronaldo holding a photoshopped sign that said, “All with Palestine.” The original image is of Ronaldo holding a sign that read, “All with Lorca,” referring to the 2011 deadly earthquake near the Spanish town of Lorca.

“They are practically lying to us with our own money,” cartoonist Payam Pourfallah said on Instagram, where he criticized the lies in the state TV report and also shared Ronaldo’s 2016 video in support of Syrian children.