Cristiano Ronaldo Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Emirates airline on Friday announced that Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portugal captain and reigning Fifa Ballon d’Or title-holder, is its newest global ambassador.

In the same press conference, held in Madrid, the Dubai-based airline, which is a worldwide partner of football’s governing body Fifa, also premiered its campaign video featuring the football superstar alongside Brazilian legend and fellow Emirates global ambassador Pele.

The announcement comes just 74 days before the Fifa World Cup — the world’s most watched sporting event — kicks off in Pele’s home country of Brazil.

Twice named Fifa Player of the Year, Ronaldo, who plays for the Emirates-sponsored Real, will lead his national team to South America to compete in his third tournament.

In January, Emirates announced three-times World Cup winner Pele as their first global ambassador since the 2006 competition in Germany, when Franz Beckenbauer was brought on board.

Boutros Boutros, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice-President of Corporate Communications and Brand, said: “Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Pele are well-known around the world. It is not only that their names and faces are synonymous with top-quality football, but also that they have the ability to inspire and connect with people within and beyond the sports arena.

“Each year Emirates is involved in more than 200 sports events, where fans and customers share exclusive experiences. This campaign reflects the Emirates philosophy to go beyond transporting people and to connect them through sports and culture.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is an icon for this generation of football fans and is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers on the pitch today. He has broken records and earned awards throughout his career. He is massively talented but he doesn’t rest on his laurels. Instead, he works hard to continue pushing himself to new heights. This ethos, plus his ability to inspire fans across the world, is why we are delighted to be working with him.”

An official Fifa partner since 2006, Emirates has been involved with the Women’s World Cup, the U20 and U17 World Cups, as well as the World Cup itself — including the upcoming 2014 event in Brazil.

Operating daily flights from Dubai to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Emirates is expected to transport more than 18,000 passengers during the month-long tournament this year.