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Cristiano Ronaldo asked to donate boots to ill child, pays for brain surgery instead

Cristiano Ronaldo has a big heart as well as a big wallet. GettyImages

Given the unfathomable amounts of money they earn with every passing minute, it's often difficult not to grumble about today's top-earning footballers and their lavish, care-free, spoilt brat existences - though, every once in a while one of them bucks the image.

Bearing in mind that that we're talking about a man who has opened a museum dedicated entirely to himself here, a story has emerged in the Spanish press this week that Cristiano Ronaldo isn't the preening, self-obsessed, ludicrously wealthy young berk that many appear overly eager to colour him as.

According to AS, after a friend recently made Ronaldo aware of the plight of young Erik Ortiz Cruz, a 10-month-old Real Madrid fan who has suffered from birth with a brain condition known as "cortical dysplasia" which causes the poor little chap to have up to 30 seizures a day -- all potentially fatal.

The friend then asked Ronaldo on behalf of the Cruz family's "Todo Somos Erik" campaign if he would be happy to donated a few signed items of merchandise, a pair of boots or a jersey, that he could put into a charity auction which is being organised to help raise funds so Erik can undergo the expensive treatment and surgery he requires -- with each preliminary test costing 6,000 euros a pop and the final operation to remove part of his brain costing a hefty 60,000 euros.

Instead, Ronaldo went ahead and pledged the full cost of Erik's treatment out of the goodness of his heart.

Of course, that's the kind of money Ronaldo earns before breakfast every day, but still that kind of generous gesture is never to be sniffed at. After all, he's under no obligation to give any of his wages away.

This isn't Ronaldo's first display of benevolent good-eggery either, having dipped into his own pocket to pay for the cancer treatment of nine-year-old Real fan Paco Nuhazet back in 2012 -- though, sadly, Paco passed away just one year later.