Brazilian and Real
Madrid superstar Ronaldo was mobbed by dozens of young Palestinian
football fans as he paid a morale-boosting visit to the poverty-stricken
The World Cup winning forward, visiting anti-poverty projects in his
capacity as a goodwill ambassador for the
United Nations, was handed a traditional Palestinian keffiyeh headscarf
by one wheelchair-bound fan as he watched youngsters stage a kickabout
at a playground in the town of Ramallah.
"My goal during this visit is to contribute as much as I can towards
peace in the world," he told reporters.
"In my name and in the name of the Real Madrid players, I thank you for
this reception and I promise you to talk about the Palestinian people
when I go back to Brazil," the former world player of the year added.
Prime minister Ahmed Qorei, who was on hand to greet Ronaldo, thanked
him for boosting morale of the Palestinian people.
"This is an important visit by Ronaldo, a man of peace. This visit is
proof of his support for peace and for the Palestinian people," he added.
Adult football fans had also travelled to the central West Bank town in
order to catch a glimpse of their hero.
Wrapped in a Brazilian flag, 25-year-old Ziyad Estiteyeh said he had
travelled down from his home in the northern city of Nablus.
"I admire him even more because he has come to visit us. For me, he is
the best player in the world," he added.
After his visit to Ramallah, Ronaldo headed to near Tel Aviv, as a guest
of the Nobel prize-winning Israeli Deputy
Prime Minister Shimon Peres, to watch a tournament involving Israeli and
He was again mobbed by fans and handed out medals to a handful of
youngsters but was forced to scrap a planned press conference amid
general scenes of chaos.