Portuguese Soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo threw his support behind Syrian children, telling them not to lose hope, while donating to a charity crisis appeal to aid thousands of children affected by the continuing conflict.
“We know that you have been suffering a lot. I am a very famous player, but you are the true heroes. Don’t lose your hope, the world is with you,” the Real Madrid star said in a video via social media.
Ronaldo is an ambassador for the Save the Children charity and was said to have made a “generous donation” to help children across Syria affected by the conflict which has been raging since March 2011.
The U.N. has estimated that around half a million people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, and that at least 13.5 million people from Syria’s 20 million population are in need of humanitarian aid.
The conflict has displaced an estimated 6 million people, including vulnerable children to neighboring countries as well as fueling a refugee crisis as droves attempt to flee to Europe. Significant numbers of young Syrian refugees are have also been forced into slave labor.
In September, a report from the UNICEF said stated that more than half of the world’s 50 million refugees are children.
Since breaking onto the scene as a youngster for English giants Manchester United, Ronaldo has become one of the world's most well-known sports stars. This year, Ronaldo’s current club, Real Madrid won the European Champions League and he captained Portugal to the Euro Championship, earning him this year's Ballon d’Or for the world’s best player.