No, this is not Cristiano Ronaldo waving the Palestinian flag during a football match

By: Rajini KG
October 12 2023

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No, this is not Cristiano Ronaldo waving the Palestinian flag during a football match

Screenshot of social media posts sharing the viral video. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video shows Morocco footballer Jawad El Yamiq holding up the Palestinian flag during a 2022 FIFA World Cup match.

Claim ID 325bd277

What is the claim?

A video of a footballer holding up the Palestinian flag during a match is doing the rounds on social media amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Israel has declared war and complete siege of the Gaza Strip following attacks by Hamas on October 7. At least 2,000 people have been killed on both sides, according to the latest news reports.

An X (formerly Twitter) user shared the video of the footballer with the Palestinian flag and wrote, "Star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is supporting Palestine by raising the Flag after victory." The post (archived here) had over 164,000 views and had been reposted by more than 110 users at the time of publishing. Archives of similar posts sharing the video can be found here, here, and here.

Screenshots from the viral video. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the claim is false as a Moroccan football player has been misidentified as Cristiano Ronaldo.

What did we find?

A reverse image search on one of the video's keyframes led us to the YouTube channel of 'Doha News Official,' which had posted the same video on December 2, 2022. The video was titled "Morocco player raises Palestinian flag after smashing victory." The video's description states that on December 1, 2022, Jawad El Yamiq, a Moroccan professional footballer, displayed the Palestinian flag at the Al Thumama Stadium after defeating the Canadian team. We can see that the player's jersey number and attire are the same as that in the viral video. The same people can be spotted around the player in both clips.

Comparison of the viral clip and ‘Doha News Official’ YouTube video. (Source: X/YouTube)

We also found an image of Jawad raising the Palestinian flag on the stock photo website Getty Images. The photo was captioned: "Morocco's defender #18 Jawad El Yamiq waves the Palestinian flag after his team the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match between Canada and Morocco at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on December 1, 2022, to advance to the round of 16." The photograph was posted on December 1, 2022, and credited to photographer Natalia Kolesnikova of the news agency AFP. The New York Times has also carried the same image in a report published on December 7, 2022, and attributed it to Getty Images. Therefore, it confirms that a Moroccan player raised the Palestine flag, not Ronaldo.

Palestinian flag at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

The 2022 FIFA World Cup was held in Qatar between November 20, 2022, and December 18, 2022. According to The Jewish Chronicle, several Moroccan football players, officials, and fans held up and waved the Palestinian flag after a match against Canada as well as one against Spain. This was after the Palestine and Israel conflict had intensified in 2022. Palestinian militants had bombed two places on the outskirts of Jerusalem in November 2022, after which Israel killed four Palestinians in the West Bank on December 8, 2022, according to a Reuters report.

CNN had reported at the time that the Moroccan players were found to have violated the FIFA disciplinary code that prohibited the promotion or announcement of political or religious messages or any other political or religious actions on the grounds of the stadium. 

Cristiano Ronaldo played for Portugal during the World Cup. His jersey number is 7, and not 18, unlike what is seen in the viral video. So far, Ronaldo, who leads the Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, has not issued any public statement on the Israel-Palestine conflict. 

The verdict

A Moroccan football player waving the Palestine flag during the 2022 Qatar World Cup has been shared with the false claim that Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo raised the Palestine flag during a match amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Therefore, we mark this claim false.

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