Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo criticised for private jet post hours after Emiliano Sala disappearance

The Juventus striker is accused of being insensitive after posting the picture on social media

Cristiano Ronaldo takes a selfie on board a jet having been in Madrid for a court case. Courtesy @Cristiano/Twitter
Cristiano Ronaldo takes a selfie on board a jet having been in Madrid for a court case. Courtesy @Cristiano/Twitter

Bad timing or bad taste?

Whatever your opinion is, Cristiano Ronaldo is coming in for some almighty criticism after he posted a selfie from a private jet soon after confirmation that new Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala was on board a plane which disappeared over the English Channel.

How did Ronaldo's post come about?

The Juventus striker was in Spain on Tuesday for a court case in which he accepted a fine and suspended jail term for tax fraud.

His Madrid court appearance lasted about 15 minutes and he signed a deal to settle the case for about 18.8 million (Dh78.4m).

Cristiano Ronaldo leaves court following his hearing into tax fraud. AFP
Cristiano Ronaldo leaves court following his hearing into tax fraud. AFP

He was pictured outside the court with his Spanish fiancee Georgina Rodriguez and signed a few autographs before being whisked away.

He then posted the selfie from the private jet on his Instagram and Twitter accounts at about 12am UAE time.

What was the reaction?

It wasn't positive, that's for sure. Former England striker and TV presenter Gary Lineker was quick to respond, writing on social media: "Not the day for this tweet. It really isn’t".

He added: "....I’m sure he’s done it without knowledge or awareness, but perhaps someone could let him know."

Thousands of social media users followed suit and condemned Ronaldo.

He surely didn't mean any harm?

In his defence, his focus during the day would have been on his court case rather than events elsewhere. He is, however, a role model to his hundreds of millions of followers and a message of thoughts and prayers for Sala's family and friends could have been a better option at that moment.

Sportsmen, like popstars and politicians, can be a toxic mix with social media, with their posts having a significant effect on younger generations in particular. While their posts can't be linked to all events happening around the world, they do have to be careful with their timing.

Fellow player Paul Pogba was heavily criticised for a post just hours after Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was sacked by the club.

The Frenchman was pictured looking smug next to a message saying "caption this". The pair were known to have had a difficult relationship with Pogba left on the bench during Mourinho's last few matches.

What happened to Sala?

Cardiff's club record signing was flying to the Welsh capital when the plane disappeared from radar about 20km north of the island of Guernsey on Monday night.

He is missing and presumed dead after a 15-hour search on Tuesday covering a 3,000-square-kilometre area in the sea spotted "a number of floating objects in the water", according to Guernsey police.

The search was due to resume at sunrise on Wednesday.

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Read more:

Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala sent message saying he was 'scared about plane' before it disappeared

Nantes fans hold vigil for missing striker Emiliano Sala - in pictures

Updated: January 23, 2019 12:02 PM

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