Clip of verbal mishap misrepresented to claim Ronaldo is joining South African team

When Cristiano Ronaldo joined the Al Nassr club in January 2023, he mistakenly referred to Saudi Arabia as South Africa at a press conference in Riyadh. Recently, a clip of the gaffe resurfaced online with a claim that Ronaldo had announced that he would join South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs. But this is false: the post reshares the old footage of Ronaldo’s slip of the tongue and adds an unrelated clip from a Kaizer Chiefs press conference. He remains a player for the Saudi club.

A reel of the false claim has been shared more than 2,200 times since it was published on Facebook on April 20, 2024.

<span>Screenshot showing the false reel, taken on April 23, 2024</span>
Screenshot showing the false reel, taken on April 23, 2024

“Christiano decided to join the khosi nation (sic),” reads a text overlay at the top of the reel.

Khosi Nation is the nickname for fans of South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs.

Additional text at the bottom right of the clip claims: “Ronaldo joining kaizer chiefs (sic)”.

The video, which has a Kaizer Chiefs logo, contains two separate clips.

The first clip shows Ronaldo speaking at a press conference. The second, shorter footage features Kaizer Chiefs spokesman Vina Maphosa standing at a podium with the club’s branding, asking if anyone had “any questions” (archived here).

The same claim was also shared on TikTok.

At 39, the celebrated Portuguese player has won both the Ballon d’Or and the Champions League five times each, in addition to multiple Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A titles (archived here).

But the video doesn’t show Ronaldo announcing his move to South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs.

Ronaldo’s Al Nassr unveiling

Using a reverse image search on a screenshot from the footage, we found that the first clip has been online since January 2023.

It shows Ronaldo’s debut press conference as a player for Saudi club Al Nassr. British newspaper The Independent uploaded a longer version of the video to its YouTube channel on January 3, 2023 (archived here).

"It's not the end of my career to come to South Africa," Ronaldo said as he was presented at the Riyadh club where thousands of fans feted his unveiling.

He accidentally said South Africa when he meant to say Saudi Arabia. His gaffe was highlighted in headlines around the world.

AFP also uploaded footage from this same press conference to its YouTube channel on January 3, 2023 (archived here).

In January 2023, Ronaldo inked a lucrative two-and-a-half-year deal with  Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr worth an estimated 200 million euros ($214m) following successful stints at Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus.