An armband that Portuguese soccer star, Cristiano Ronaldo, threw to the ground in frustration during a World Cup qualifying match against Serbia last week was sold at an auction for $75,000 to support medical treatment for a Serbian baby.
The Associated Press reported that Serbian state TV Friday said a humanitarian group put the blue captain’s armband online for bidding.
The money raised will go to a 6-month-old boy suffering from spinal muscular atrophy, according to the AP.
Ronaldo removed the armband following Portugal’s 2-2 draw in the match against Serbia after he believed he scored the game-winning goal in injury time.
However, a referee said that the goalkeeper cleared the ball before it was able to make it past the goal line, the AP reported.
Ronaldo then angrily threw down his armband as he walked off the pitch, and the object was later picked up by an on-duty firefighter, who gave the armband to the charity group.
The news service noted that the three-day online auction included claims that some participants tried to disrupt the bidding by pledging enormously high sums of money.
Authorities said they would remove and punish those who made the fake bids, according to the AP.
Ronaldo’s frustrated reaction drew criticism from some, and the star player later said in an Instagram post, “I always give and will give everything for my country, that will never change.”
“But there are difficult times to deal with, especially when we feel that an entire nation is being harmed,” he wrote, adding that “being captain of the Portugal team is one of the greatest pride and privileges of my life.”
The referee who made the call, Danny Makkelie, later apologized in a statement to Portugal’s A Bola newspaper, explaining, “As a referee team, we always work hard to make good decisions.”
“When we are in the news in this manner, it doesn’t make us happy at all,” the Dutch referee added.