Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, has reportedly said that Portuguese superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was subjected to a ‘political ban’ at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Several media outlets quoted Erdogan as saying that Ronaldo was ‘wasted’ at the marquee event in Qatar. Ronaldo’s Portugal went out of the quarter-finals at the World Cup after losing to Morocco. The 37-year-old Ronaldo was used as a substitute in that game which Portugal lost 1-0. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star footballer was also not in the starting XI in Portugal’s Round of 16 game against Switzerland.
Ronaldo, who had earlier become the first male footballer to score in five separate World Cups, left the Qatar edition in tears after Portugal was eliminated.
“They have wasted Ronaldo. Unfortunately, they have imposed a political ban on him,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera on Sunday while speaking at a youth event in the eastern Erzurum province. “Ronaldo is someone who stands for the Palestinian cause.”
The Al Jazeera report also claimed that “Ronaldo has never issued any public statements on the Israel-Palestine conflict.”
Erdogan was also quoted as saying by Spanish publication Marca that, “Sending a footballer like Ronaldo onto the field with only 30 minutes left in the game ruined his psychology and sapped his energy.”
Ronaldo is currently without a club. He exited Premier League club Manchester United ahead of the World Cup. However, there are rumours that he has a whopping 200 million Euros per year salary offer from Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr.