Social media posts and news articles claiming Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo will turn his chain of hotels into hospitals to treat Coronavirus patients, are false.
BOOM contacted the Portuguese footballer's hotel - Pestana CR7 - and reached out to other fact checkers in Portugal and found that the claim was false.
The false claim, which also said treatment would be available for free and that Ronaldo would pay doctors and workers for their services, was shared by verified international Twitter handles including Foot Mercato (archive), The Sportsman (archive), Footy Accumulators as well as Gulf News (archive).
Cristiano Ronaldo captains the national football team of Portugal and plays forward for the Serie A Club Juventus.Ronaldo who is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time also owns a chain of hotels in partnership with Pestana Group, Portugal.
BOOM went through articles published on several websites - Gulf News, Give Me Sport, Juve fc - with the same claim and found that all of them had attributed it to an article published in Spanish sports newspaper Marca. Click here, here and here for archived versions.
BOOM looked for the article on MARCA's official website but it has been since removed. However, we were able take a screenshot of the article before the Spanish daily pulled it off its website.
According to recent news reports, Ronaldo has tested negative for COVID-19 and is in quarantine at his native Maderia. Ronaldo's team-mate Daniele Rugani had tested positive on March 11, 2020. On March 13, the Juventus star tweeted about the Coronavirus outbreak from his official Twitter handle. The false claim had gone viral from March 14.
BOOM contacted the Juventus footballer's hotel chain in Portugal over email and they were quick to deny the claim.
When BOOM asked the Pestana CR7 Lisboa hotel about the facility being turned into a hospital for COVID-19 patients, the hotel's front office told us "we don't have any information about that, the hotel will continue to work as usual".
BOOM also found a fact-check by Portugal-based digital media group Observador which denied the claims. A source close to the Pestana Group - partnership company in the Pestana CR7 hotels - has reportedly told Observador that the claim was 'a lie'.
The digital media outlet quoted another source close to the footballer who has denied the viral claims. The Observador article also mentions that the Spanish sports daily MARCA, which reiterated the viral claim in its March 15 report, did not cite any source for the claim.
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