Cristiano Ronaldo joins PokerStars

He's one of the biggest names in sport, and he commands the largest social media following of any athlete on the planet.

Now football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has joined PokerStars, the most popular poker company in the world.

He has become a member of Team PokerStars and will act as a brand ambassador, helping promote PokerStars and the game of poker to a huge new audience.

Want to join Ronaldo at PokerStars? Get an account here.

How big is that audience? Well, just a short while ago Ronaldo announced his new role in a special personal video that he shared on his Facebook page with his incredible following of 103 million fans.

You read that correctly; 103 million. Oh, and he also has 35.5 million followers on Twitter!

The Real Madrid and Portugal forward, who joins PokerStars just weeks after Brazil and Barcelona football legend Neymar Jr, is already a keen poker player, and he says joining with the undisputed world leader in poker was a natural step.

He explained: "I like playing for winning teams, and PokerStars is the perfect partner for me. As a brand, it is always looking at ways to improve and stay ahead of the curve, and as an athlete that is something I truly respect.

"I started playing poker a few years ago, and I love the competition, strategy and fun. I'm looking forward to taking my game to the online and live poker tables and meeting my fans head to head.

"Although football is my world, poker has always been my game. I'm very excited to join the team."


Sporting superstar: Cristiano Ronaldo joins PokerStars

Ronaldo's appeal is truly global. He is often described as one of the greatest footballers of all time and is the current World Footballer of the Year. That comes from being blessed with sublime skills, a blistering turn of pace and the ability to score sensational goals - be they from free kicks, long-range strikes, headers or subtle flicks.

In total he has three FIFA d'Or World Player of the Year awards, two Champions League medals, and a huge collection of domestic league titles, including those with his former club, Manchester United.

Ronaldo will be promoting PokerStars in advertising campaigns, and is slated to make special appearances at major live poker events and online poker tournaments. One event planned for later this year will give his legions of fans the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with their hero - and challenge him at the poker table.

Michael Hazel, the interim CEO of PokerStars, said: "The poker table is not a new arena for athletes, as many have, over the years, sought other ways to satisfy their love for competition, and pursue challenges.

"Ronaldo is one of the most famous names in the world and PokerStars is thrilled to partner with him. We look forward to him spreading his love of the game worldwide by sharing his PokerStars experiences with his huge social following and fan base."

Team PokerStars already includes a number of top sports stars, such as all-time football great Ronaldo Nazário of Brazil, Olympic gold field hockey captain Fatima Moreira de Melo, Brazil's current star striker and team captain Neymar Jr, and 14-time tennis Grand Slam winner Rafa Nadal.

David Baazov, Chairman and CEO of Amaya Inc., which owns the PokerStars brand, said: "Ronaldo is part of a new generation of global superstar athletes that work hard, play smart and encourage their fans to share in their lives. We're proud that Ronaldo - and fellow elite player Neymar Jr - have chosen to make PokerStars a partner in their journey and to share their love of the game of poker with their legions of fans."

Ronaldo will play on PokerStars under the User ID C.Ronaldo. See the Ronaldo PokerStars page for details of a special welcome bonus for new players!

Simon Young is Editor-in-Chief at PokerStars.

Simon Young
@MrSimonYoung in Neymar Jr