As the crisis in Syria continues to deteriorate, 2016’s best football player, Cristiano Ronaldo, recently offered the children of Syria a message of hope.

Ronaldo, a Save the Children Global Artist Ambassador since 2013, told them that amidst a war entering its sixth year they are the “true heroes,” and has made a generous donation to provide immediate life-saving relief to children and families in Syria.

The donation will help Save the Children provide much-needed food, clothing, emergency medical care and psychosocial support to vulnerable children and families who have been living for years under siege and under constant bombardment.

Ronaldo shared his special message to Syrian children in a video posted on his social media channels. “This is for the children of Syria. We know that you have been suffering a lot. I am a very famous player – but you are the true heroes. Don’t lose your hope. The world is with you. We care about you. I am with you,” said Ronaldo.

To view the message, click here.

“With our partners in Syria, we have been helping children in Aleppo and are supporting the thousands of families who have now fled their homes. Our partners are distributing food baskets and emergency supplies, and are providing medical assistance in the areas where people leaving Aleppo are arriving to, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs. And we run dozens of health centers and schools in the region. After some of the most intense violence and brutal siege we have seen in Syria’s conflict, families urgently need our help,” said Nick Finney, Save the Children’s North-West Syria Country Director.

“Cristiano Ronaldo’s generous donation will help us to support children from Aleppo and across Syria, who have suffered things children should never have to live through. We are tremendously grateful for his life-changing support. Ronaldo is not only one of the world’s most iconic sports figures, but he also has become a beacon of hope for millions of boys and girls worldwide – and hope is something that Syria’s children need now more than ever.”

Ronaldo has been using his voice and visibility since the Syrian conflict started to help keep the focus on children front and center, including sharinga photo of a 5-year-old Syrian refugee boy on his social channels this past March who was helped through Save the Children’s kindergarten programs.

The football star is encouraging his fans and more than 250 million social media followers to join him by sharing their own messages of hope to Syrian children on social media, using #Syria.

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