SINGAPORE - Five-time Fifa Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo typically dominates the back pages of The Straits Times. But on Monday (April 30), the Real Madrid and Portugal superstar appeared on A3 of Singapore's national newspaper alongside Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim.
The half-page advertisement read: "Congratulations Peter on the listing! - Cristiano Ronaldo", in reference to healthcare player Thomson Medical Group's listing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
Real-estate and investment company Rowsley recently acquired Thomson Medical before it was renamed Thomson Medical Group. Lim is the controlling shareholder.
The 65-year-old's Hong Kong-based company Mint Media also owns Ronaldo's image rights - apart from those related to Real Madrid - following a six-year deal announced in 2015.
When contacted by ST, Mint Media said the advertisement was taken up on behalf of Ronaldo.
Lim and Ronaldo go back a long way. In 2013, Ronaldo was in Singapore to help raise awareness for the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship, which supports needy young athletes.
On July 21, 2017, Ronaldo was at Thomson Medical Centre to visit Lim and his daughter Kim, who had recently given birth to a boy.
In an April 15, 2018 Instagram post, Ronaldo wrote "Congratulations Peter on the listing of Thomson Medical!" with a photo that appeared to be taken from his trip to Singapore last year.
The forward has previously described Lim, who also owns Spanish LaLiga club Valencia, as "a great friend".
Last July, he shared a photo of himself and Lim on Instagram, with Marina Bay Sands in the backdrop. He wrote: "More than a partner, a great friend!"
He also posted a photo of himself against a Mint Media van on Twitter and Facebook, captioned: "Spent (a) great time in Singapore. Look forward to meet with Peter Lim again soon."
Ronaldo is widely recognised as one of the best footballers ever to play the game. The 33-year-old has won 24 major trophies including three English Premier League titles with Manchester United.
He has won the Champions League with both United (2007-08) and Real (2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-17), and is on course to claim a winners' medal in that competition for a fifth time.
Real Madrid are in this season's semi-finals, and hold a 2-1 lead over Bayern Munich from the first leg. The return leg is in Madrid on Tuesday.
Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time top scorer with 120 goals.