A Cristiano Ronaldo fan has been cleared of all charges for hugging the star during a Real Madrid exhibition match in Miami, Florida.
Cristiano Ronaldo personally came to the defense of Canadian fan Ronald Gjoka, who was facing charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct after jumping onto the field from the stands to hug the Portuguese star during the match between Spanish club Real Madrid and England club Chelsea.
Showing his softer side, Ronaldo wrote a letter to the prosecutor appealing for the charges against Gjoka to be dropped after finding out about the case.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s letter reads in part:
“My name is Cristiano Ronaldo and I play for Real Madrid. I was playing in Sun Life Stadium when a fan entered the field.”
“His name is Ronald Gjoka, a young college student. We hugged, and we spoke for a while, until security arrived to escort him off the field. He was not aggressive or violent in ANY way. What’s more, he did not put up any resistance when the security guards and police arrived.”
“I understand your position and the importance of enforcing rules and laws. However, I respectfully request that you and your office reconsider this decision and dismiss the two criminal charges this young man faces.”
Miami soccer fan cleared of charges after @Cristiano Ronaldo hug. He said: “I want to meet CR7 again to say thank u” pic.twitter.com/U3baW0sHfK
— Eliane Dagher (@DagherEliane) December 17, 2013
Cristiano Ronaldo is such a Gentleman, giving that fan a hug during a game against Chelsea pic.twitter.com/31N8FCGuTb
— La_Cream (@Khotsoseheri) August 9, 2013
Richard Hujber, a lawyer for Gjoka, said in a statement on Monday that he was pleased with the developments:
“We are happy to announce the prosecutor today dropped the charges against our client in open court.”
“In particular, we thank Cristiano Ronaldo for all his assistance and consideration in this important matter involving a young college student with an extremely bright future.”
On August 7, Ronald Gjoka, wearing a No. 7 Cristiano Ronaldo shirt, leaped onto the field in the middle of the game and did a knee slide, imitating his hero’s traditional goal-scoring celebration style.
Afterwards, the fan approached Ronaldo and hugged him.
The Portuguese captain hugged him back and spent about a minute talking to Gjoka to the delight of the 70,000 people witnessing the unusual encounter before stadium security personnel escorted the man off the field.
Gjoka, a Palm Beach State Community College student, said he hoped to be able to thank Cristiano Ronaldo in person one day:
“My dream now is just to see him again to say thanks.”
Read the entire letter Cristiano Ronaldo wrote to prosecutors in the case here.