Manchester United forward Cristian Ronaldo joined the list of sports stars to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s decision to attack Ukraine has rocked Europe to its core, with UEFA deciding to shift the final of the Champions League out of St. Petersburg, Russia to Saint-Denis, France.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday that resulted in Europe witnessing the most savage form of warfare since the Second World War. Many high-profile footballers spoke on the invasion and Ronaldo also called for peace, saying ‘we need to create a better world for our children’.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner took to Instagram and wrote to his following of 407 million people: “We need to create a better world for our children. Praying for peace in our world.”
Manchester United have also cancelled their £40million sponsorship deal with Aeroflot over the episode. The six-year agreement with the Russian national airline still had 18 months to run. The English club on Friday announced the termination. “In light of events in Ukraine, we have withdrawn Aeroflot’s sponsorship rights. We share the concerns of our fans around the world and extend our sympathies to those affected,” said a United spokesperson.
United’s flight with Aeroflot to Spain on Tuesday for their Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid was cancelled hours before Russia launched its military action in Ukraine. The team flew to the Spanish capital on UK-based Titan Airways.
German club Schalke also dropped Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom as its main sponsor as it expressed “great concern” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Schalke wore jerseys with “Schalke 04” on the front on Saturday for its 1-1 draw at Karlsruher SC.
Many countries including England, Scotland and Wales have decided to not play against Russia in football games “for the foreseeable future”. This also includes playing against any side under the guise of ‘Football Union of Russia’.
The decision has been made “out of solidarity with Ukraine and to wholeheartedly condemn the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership”, the England FA said in a statement.