Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has been criticised for appearing in an Israeli advertisement Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo came under a barrage of online criticism from Palestinian supporters for appearing in a television ad for an Israeli internet broadband claiming to be faster than the Portuguese striker.

Earlier in February, the Real Madrid star took to social media to promote his latest sponsorship deal with Israel's internet company HOT.

"There are rumours that I'm going to be a star in Israel. Not in soccer... In a HOT commercial," he wrote on Twitter and Facebook in a post accompanying a video of the related TV commercial.

The clip met a warm response from Israeli fans but also drew a torrent of abuse from Palestinians and critics of Israel's policy in the West Bank and Gaza.

In a few days, it also amassed almost 500,000 views on YouTube gaining more dislikes than likes –2,000 to 1,800.

The debate also raged on Facebook where more than 8,000 people commented underneath Ronaldo's post – slightly more than those who had something to say about his most recent photo, which depicts the bare-chested 31-year-old promoting his line of underwear.

Israel Loves you Cristiano! You are the best! Great Commercial! #HalaMadrid," wrote Netanel Yehezkel.

"By supporting Apartheid Israel who are ethnically cleansing the indigenous Palestinians, you have forfeited your right to consider yourself a humanitarian. You are complicit in their crimes against the Palestinian people and have blood on your hands. Shame on you," countered Yara Najar.

It was not the first time Ronaldo, who like Lionel Messi has a huge following in the Middle East, got a taste of the poisonous online environment surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Polarised responses have been previously drawn by a photo of him with a Palestinian scarf and rumours he sold a Golden Boot award to raise funds for Palestinian children.

In 2013, the prolific forward managed to be labelled both as pro and anti-Israeli within a few days as he travelled to Israel with his national team.

First he was attacked online by pro-Palestinian over the use of the word "Israel" in a post depicting him with his teammates ahead of a football match in Tel Aviv. Later he was slated after footage from the game erroneously appeared to show him snubbing a shirt-swap with Israeli players.