Viral post fact check: What Cristiano Ronaldo did not say in Dubai

Misinformation about the Portuguese football player has exploded following his transfer to Saudi club Al Nassr

By AFP

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Published: Mon 27 Feb 2023, 2:25 PM

Last updated: Mon 27 Feb 2023, 4:31 PM

A photo of Cristiano Ronaldo has circulated in Facebook posts with a false claim that he says he loves Islam while giving an interview in Dubai — the latest in a wave of misinformation targeting the football star. While Ronaldo said during the interview that he loved Dubai, he did not mention Islam.

"This Muslim woman from Saudi Arabia asked Cristiano Ronaldo: 'Who do you love the most?'" reads a Bengali-language Facebook post shared on January 5.

"Cristiano Ronaldo replied: 'I love Islam.'"

The photo shows Ronaldo in a white T-shirt on stage with a woman wearing a hijab.

Misinformation about the Portuguese football player has exploded following his transfer to Saudi club Al Nassr. The flurry of fake news last month included Ronaldo and her partner Georgina Rodriguez 'tying the knot' in the kingdom, and a Saudi football player getting 'fired' after refusing to give up his jersey for the star.

For this new viral post, keyword searches and reverse image searches on Google found a similar photo in an article about a Q&A session with Ronaldo on January 28, 2020, at the Expo 2020 event in Dubai.

Below is the screenshot comparison of the photo shared in false Facebook posts (left) and a similar photo on Expo 2020's website (right):

The website features the full 18-minute Q&A session with the player, in which he was interviewed at Dubai's Al Wasl Plaza by the chief experience officer of Expo 2020, Marjan Faraidooni.

In the interview, Ronaldo spoke about topics such as physical fitness, his family and his love for Dubai.

At the 3:28 mark, he says: "I love Dubai because they treat me unbelievable (sic). I love the people. I love the culture."

At no point in the interview did he say that he loved Islam.

AFP previously debunked false claims about Ronaldo converting to Islam.

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