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Erdogan claims Cristiano was victim of ‘political veto’ at World Cup

The Turkish president pointed to the Portuguese player as “someone who defends the Palestinian cause”, and maintains that he will play in the Saudi League with Al Nassr.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims that Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo was the victim of a political veto during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which the president indirectly linked to his alleged support for the Palestinian cause.

Speaking to a group of young people during a Turkish television program last night, he said that “Unfortunately Ronaldo was wasted” at the World Cup, in which Portugal lost in the quarterfinals against Morocco (0-1). "Unfortunately, they imposed a political veto on him," declared the president, adding that the player "is someone who defends the Palestinian cause," reported the official Turkish news agency Anadolu.

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan
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Turkish President, Recep Tayyip ErdoganAnadolu AgencyGetty

Erdogan did not elaborate on what he bases his statement on Cristiano Ronaldo’s alleged political support for the Palestinians. “Sending a footballer like Ronaldo onto the field with only 30 minutes remaining in the game ruined his psychology and drained him of energy,” said Erdogan, who before becoming a politician was a professional soccer player. “According to the information I have received, (Cristiano) Ronaldo is now going to Saudi Arabia,” added the president, who was in Qatar for the opening match and the final.

Cristiano Ronaldo.
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Cristiano Ronaldo.ALBERTO PIZZOLI / Getty

The Turkish president also said that Argentina deserved to win the title because of their great game and because of Lionel Messi, “despite his age (he is)”. ”But (Kylian) Mbappé is the future, he is 23 years old, Messi 34. Now there is Mbappe; he is the future”, Erdogan concluded, referring to the young star who scored three goals for France in the final against Argentina.