Cristiano Ronaldo donates money to struggling lower league players not being paid in Portugal during coronavirus crisis

CRISTIANO RONALDO is donating money to struggling lower league players in his native Portugal during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Juventus hero has spearheaded an initiative that sees Portugal players hand over part of their Euro 2020 qualification bonuses, say the Associated Press.

This summer’s football showpiece has been pushed back a year due to the Covid-19 oubreak, meaning Portugal will be kings of Europa for another 12 months.

But Inter star Joao Mario, on loan at Lokomotiv Moscow, revealed the lengths Ronaldo is going through to make sure others – including healthcare workers and semi-pro footballers – can survive.

He said: “It’s a bad situation for everyone, but in these kinds of situations, it’s worse.

“They really need our help so I’m trying to give them my support.

“Cristiano presented us an initiative for us all to help especially those players that are struggling, that do not have professional contracts.

“He is always trying to give the example, not just with us, but also by himself.

“We can see how much he is doing now with this situation for Portugal. So, for us as teammates, it is great to see what he is trying to do.”

Man City star Bernardo Silva first revealed Ronaldo’s scheme last month.

He said: “He gave us the idea let’s donate part of our bonus, so I think our national team, our players will donate 50 per cent of our qualifying bonus.”

The Portuguese Federation spoke on the generosity of its players and club, saying: “In the spirit of the camaraderie between professional and non-professional football, we have decided, as a team, to give up part of our Euro 2020 qualification prize money.

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