SINGAPORE - Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in Singapore on Friday (July 21) on a one-day whistle-stop visit.
Casually attired in sportswear, the 32-year-old arrived at Thomson Medical Centre at 10am to visit Singapore billionaire Peter Lim, his daughter Kim and newborn grandson. A spokesman for Mr Lim said that Ms Lim had married earlier and would prefer not to reveal the identity of her husband. The wedding ceremony will be held next year.
The Portugal captain was greeted by about 100 fans, who clamoured for photos and autographs, but bodyguards quickly escorted the star to the lift.
Kelvin, a 17-year-old student who refused to give his full name, said: "I found out about Ronaldo's arrival through The Straits Times' Facebook post.
"I have been following Ronaldo since his Manchester United days and I have been waiting here since 9am.
"Although he didn't sign my jersey, it was still an unbelievable experience to see him in person for the first time."
Ronaldo's image rights, apart from those related to his club Real Madrid, are managed by Mint Media, a Hong Kong-based company owned by Lim.
Later on Friday, he will sign a major endorsement deal brokered by Mint Media and he will also dine with Lim, who is a close personal friend.
The player is one of the most marketable athletes in the world and has endorsements with major brands such as Nike, Emporio Armani, Tag Heuer and Herbalife.
Ronaldo will jet off later on Friday to attend Mint Media events in Beijing and Shanghai.
This is not the former Manchester United star's first visit to Singapore. In 2013, he paid a surprise visit to Crest Secondary School in Jurong East to support the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship, which provides financial aid to needy young athletes. There, he sportingly showed his football skills to 200 students and gave them a motivational talk.
Forbes has estimated that Ronaldo earns US$27 million (S$37 million) annually from endorsements from a variety of brands such as Nike, Tag Heuer, Emporio Armani and Herbalife.