SAINT-DENIS: Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has invited the widow of the former Italian striker Stefano Borgonovo to attend the Euro 2016 final against hosts France.

Moved by the story of Stefano Borgonovo, a former striker for Italy and Fiorentina who lost his battle with the muscle-wasting disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2013, Ronaldo has been an active supporter of the Stefano Borgonovo Foundation, established by widow Chantal Borgonovo in 2014.

Chantal Borgonovo . . . a special message

Ronaldo, speaking about Stefano’s battle with ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, said: “I have learned about Stefano Borgonovo from Carlo Ancelotti who was very close to him. Stefano was a great striker and a real fighter – on and off the pitch.

“He loved football as much as he loved life. Therefore I have decided to support Borgonovo Foundation and to fight ALS and I invite all to do the same.”

Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo’s manager, is also a supporter of the Foundation and dedicated a chapter in his autobiography to highlighting the importance of combatting ALS, a disease which attacks the nervous system and came to global attention as part of the ice bucket challenge.

Fighting on

Chantal Borgonovo said: “I could not believe my ears when Jorge Mendes called me the other day and told me that Ronaldo wants me to come to Paris.

“Cristiano and Jorge have always been very close to my family and I am happy and grateful that they continue to remember my husband and support us in our fight against ALS. I am looking forward to the Euro final and to discussing the Foundation’s efforts with the football community present.”

Other members of the international football community who have voiced their support for the Borgonovo Foundation include: Roberto Baggio, Carlo Ancelotti, Claudio Ranieri and Pep Guardiola.

Two weeks ago, three years to the day after Stefano Borgonovo’s death, his widow was a guest of the Italian federation at the Euro 2016 victory over Spain.

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