But unlike the Juventus star, Biwar Abdullah, 25, does not play for a top club in Europe. Instead, he earns his living working in the construction field.
“A lot of people tell me that I look like Cristiano, apart from whether I’m an Arab, Kurdish or foreigner, the important thing is that I meet him one day,” Abdullah said while joining other young men for a football match in a mountainous area of the country.
Abdullah comes from a poor family in Soran, a city 110 kilometers away from Erbil, near Iraq-Iran borders. His father is a retired fighter from the Peshmerga Kurdish forces. Abdullah gave up on education at the age of seven because of the economic hardships faced by his family.
But he remains a popular figure in the area, often stopping to pose for selfies with people in the street.
“Biwar has a lot of fans, and we are very happy for that. People love him much, especially residents of Soran,” said Rizyar Najad, an employee at a local sports equipment shop, where Abdullah often goes to buy his sportswear.
Abdullah hopes to meet Ronaldo, who plays thousands of miles away in the Italian Serie A.
(Production: Kawa Omar, Mohammed al-Ramahi, Maher Nazeh, Mohammed Katfan, Hanna Rantala)