Photo does not show Ronaldo supporting Lionel Messi and Argentina

The photo has been altered

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Claim: A photo shows Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo posing happily next to a TV screen that shows Argentina’s captain Lionel Messi . It appears that Ronaldo is cheering for Messi. 

Fact: The photo does not show Ronaldo cheering for Messi; the image is doctored. The original photo shows Ronaldo watching Portugal’s UEFA Nations League match in 2020.

Fact or Fiction?

On 15 December 2022, a Facebook page NFJ Entertainment shared a photo claiming that Cristiano Ronaldo is cheering for Argentina and Lionel Messi.

The photo was accompanied by the following caption:

Cristiano Ronaldo: “My son is a Messi fan. My wife is from Argentina. And I am a Messi fan too. So our whole Ronaldo family supports Argentina for the world cup 2022”. 

The photo went viral following Portugal’s exit on 10 December in the quarter-finals at the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be false. A Google Reverse Image Search led us to a website, UOL Esporte, that published a similar photo on 14 October 2020. The photo’s caption reads, “Cristiano Ronaldo watches Portugal match in the League of Nations.” 

In the original photo, the TV screen displayed a stadium photograph instead of Messi’s image, as seen in the viral photo.

We looked through Ronaldo’s Instagram account and found that he shared the same photo on 15 October 2020.

Portugal scored three goals to beat Sweden in the UEFA Nations League match on 14 October 2020.

Soch Fact Check concluded that the viral photo doing the rounds on social media is altered; Ronaldo was not pictured next to Messi’s image on a TV screen. 

Virality:

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the seven-day period leading up to 22 December using the following search term:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo: “My son is a Messi fan. My wife is from Argentina. And I am a Messi fan too. So our whole Ronaldo family supports Argentina for the world cup 2022.”

The search term received 8,513 interactions across six posts on Instagram during the same period. 

The claim can be found here, here and here.

The search term received 8,513 interactions across six posts on Instagram during the same period.

The claim was shared here, here and here.

Conclusion: The viral photo is altered; the TV screen in the original picture displayed a stadium photograph instead of Messi’s image. It does not show Ronaldo supporting Argentina but the photo is actually from 2020, when the Portuguese footballer cheered for his team playing in the UEFA Nations League.

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