Cristiano Ronaldo was presented with a cheque for CHF100,000 (€63,100) by UEFA for the UEFA EURO 2008™ Score for the Red Cross campaign prior to tonight's UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg between Manchester United FC and AS Roma at Old Trafford.
The presentation was in recognition of Ronaldo's selection in the uefa.com users' Team of the Year 2007 and his role as ambassador for Score for the Red Cross, which is jointly organised by UEFA and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Score for the Red Cross benefits land-mine victims in Afghanistan, providing them with artificial limbs, physiotherapy and vocational training.
The cheque was also a first donation from UEFA to the Score for the Red Cross online fundraising campaign. Internet users will be able to help their favourite UEFA EURO 2008™ side win the title of Most Humanitarian Team by purchasing virtual goals on scorefortheredcross.org. In so doing, they will earn the chance to win attractive prizes including tickets to EURO matches in Austria and Switzerland. The winning team will be announced on 6 July.
'Everyone's a winner'
UEFA will also donate €4,000 for every goal scored and €5,000 for every goal scored by Ronaldo for Portugal during the final tournament. "Land-mine victims need determination and a lot of encouragement on the road to recovery," Ronaldo said. "I have a lot of respect for them and I want to support them. The great thing about this campaign is that everyone is a winner when it comes to giving and receiving. The website offers football fans a chance to have fun while making a difference. What could be better than that?"
According to Doris Pfister, the ICRC's director of resources and operational support, Ronaldo's involvement in the campaign will offer hope to children around the world. "It is crucial," she said. "I have seen several countries where there are wars and conflicts, and I have met a lot of youngsters in very difficult situations, and all of them in a way like football and for them somebody like Ronaldo is a dream. They would like to become like him, a big football star, but in difficult situations someone like him also gives hope. For us, it is really fantastic to have such a personality involved."
UEFA communications director William Gaillard believes Ronaldo is setting an example for others to follow. "Having one of the most popular footballers in the world, and someone so young, involved in this humanitarian campaign is a real call for young people all over Europe to support the campaign and, at the same time, encourage their teams to score as many goals as possible for the Red Cross. It is great to have someone so talented and charismatic involved in such a worthy campaign."
The 23-year-old – who has scored 37 goals in all competitions this season – was voted into the 2007 uefa.com Team of the Year announced in January by uefa.com users, receiving over 170,000 votes in the right midfielder category. The other players voted into the XI were: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF), Daniel Alves (Sevilla FC), Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan), John Terry (Chelsea FC), Eric Abidal (FC Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool FC), Kaká (AC Milan), Clarence Seedorf (AC Milan), Zlatan Ibrahimović (FC Internazionale Milano) and Didier Drogba (Chelsea FC). Ronaldo's manager at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson, took the coaching honours.
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