Cristiano Ronaldo has thrown his weight behind a spectator who was arrested for invading the pitch to embrace him.
According to Reuters' David Adams, Ronald Gjoka has been charged with disorderly conduct and trespass, and he has received support from Ronaldo who has written a letter asking for leniency.
In Adams’ report, he quotes the letter Ronaldo sent to the prosecutor handling the case:
I was playing at Sun Life Stadium last month when a fan entered the field.
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.
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.
During Real’s pre-season clash with Chelsea in the International Champions Cup, Gjoka—a 19-year-old student from Canada—rushed onto the pitch to embrace Ronaldo:
Cristiano Ronaldo embraces a pitch invader against Chelsea last night pic.twitter.com/QY6VmaN2Wt— FansAllStar Football (@FASfootball) August 8, 2013
The pair were seen chatting. Ronaldo asked the security officials not to be too rough when they removed Gjoka from the field of play.
While Gjoka got to hug his hero, he also spent a night in jail after being arrested.
Speaking to Reuters about the incident in which he performed a knee slide in front of Ronaldo while wearing the Portuguese superstar’s No. 7 shirt, the teenager said:
He made my day. I grew up fatherless and I have looked up to Ronaldo all my life.
My adrenalin was running. I just said to myself 'go for it. See if you can jump the barrier and give him a hug.'
According to the Miami Herald's Michelle Kaufman, it was Gjoka's attorney, Richard Hujber, who contacted Ronaldo's legal team and received the letter in return.