Football Philanthropists: Cristiano Ronaldo

The football world has many excellent philanthropists, as I detailed in a previous post. Let’s take a look at another great example; a footballer so successful, their star so bright, that their massive contributions are easy to overlook. I’m talking about none other than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano, despite his sometimes tiring dramatics on the pitch, is an accomplished philanthropist. The son of a gardener, Ronaldo has excelled at football’s highest stages for his current club, Real Madrid. And he has been rewarded handsomely. He takes down around £230,000 a week in salary alone. Add that to his numerous endorsement deals and we are talking about an extremely wealthy individual. To be fair, he has absolutely earned it. Ronaldo’s accomplishments are numerous, both with his teams and as an individual. He was with Manchester United from 2003 to 2009, contributing to 3 league titles, including a double winner when they took the Champions League in 2008. That same season, he was awarded the Ballon d’Or and a laundry list of other accolades. For Real Madrid, he has won La Liga, taken the Copa twice, and most recently personally sealed the Champions League victory in penalties (after a fairly tame 120 minutes of play). Add to that Portugal’s victory in the Europeans Championship this summer and Cristiano has really done it all. But what has he done for the world at large? As it turns out: a lot.

Ronaldo’s philanthropy started early. In 2004, when the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami devastated Indonesia, television cameras captured a child wearing the Portuguese number 7 shirt. The boy has survived for 19 days alone after his family was swept away. After seeing the footage, Cristiano traveled to Aceh, Indonesia to raise money for the rebuilding process.

After his mother battled and beat cancer at a hospital in Madeira, Portugal, Cristiano donated £100,000 to the institution to build a cancer centre. He returned to Madeira in 2010 after floods devasted the area to raise money in a charity football match.

After winning the Golden Boot in 2011, he sold the thing and donated the 1.5 million pound purse to pay for schools in Gaza. In 2013, Cristiano was named Save the Children’s newest Global Artist Ambassador. Recently, he launched an app called CR7Selfie which raises money for Save the Children.

He also joined Drogba and others in FIFA’s “11 against Ebola campaign”.

His latest gesture came after his club’s win in the Champions League in Milan. Cristiano netted the winning penalty, and then (after some celebrations, surely), donated his £600,000 bonus to charity, in its entirety.

Those are just a handful of the ways that Cristiano Ronaldo has given back. It’s no wonder that DoSomething.org named him atop their list of most charitable athletes in 2015.

 

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