Football world's multi-million dollar virus gestures revealed

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have both made generous donations in the fight against COVID-19. Pic: Getty

At a time when countries around the world are struggling to combat the COVID-19 crisis, incredible stories are emerging in the sporting world about the stunning contributions from some of the biggest global stars.

In the football world, the sport's best players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are leading the way, with new details emerging of the incredibly generous donations being made to hospital and health professionals across the world.

'PLAYING WHILE THE TITANIC SINKS': Surreal scenes in A-League's 'last match on earth'

'WHAT THE F***': Shane Warne savages Scott Morrison over press conference 'shocker'

Ronaldo and super agent Jorge Mendes have donated €1 million ($A 1.8 million) to help three intensive care units (ICUs) in their native Portugal.

The pair’s donation will go towards buying crucial equipment for ICUs at Lisbon’s Santa Maria Hospital and the Santo Antonio hospital in Porto.

"We were contacted by Jorge Mendes, who volunteered with Cristiano Ronaldo to fund two intensive care units for critically ill patients with Covid-19," Santa Maria President Daniel Ferro said.

"There are fans, monitors, infusion pumps, beds, all the equipment that makes up an intensive care unit equipped to provide assistance to a patient infected with Covid-19."

The president of the board of Centro Hospitalar Universitario do Porto, Paulo Barbosa, laid out exactly how Ronaldo and Mendes’ contribution would help the ICU.

"This unit will allow the opening of 15 intensive care beds, fully equipped with fans, monitors and other equipment," Barbosa said.

"The Centro Hospitalar Universitario do Porto thanks Cristiano Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes for this very useful initiative, at a time when the country needs everyone so much."

Mendes had already provided 1,000 masks and 200,000 protective gowns to the Sao Joao hospital in Porto last week as well as ordering eight further ventilators and to be distributed to hospitals across Portugal.

Messi and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola have each made similar $1.8 million donations.

Messi – a six-time Ballon d'Or winner – made a contribution that will be split between Hospital Clinic in Barcelona and another medical centre in his home country.

"Leo Messi made a donation to the clinic to fight the coronavirus," Hospital Clinic wrote on Twitter.

"Thank you very much, Leo, for your commitment and your support."

Pep Guardiola has contributed a large sum of money to help Spain's coronavirus crisis. Pic: Getty

Former Barcelona player and manager Guardiola made his contribution to a campaign launched by the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation and Medical College of Barcelona.

“Pep Guardiola has made a donation of one million euros to the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation for the acquisition and supply of health equipment to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a statement from the College.

“The donation campaign promoted by the Medical College of Barcelona and managed through the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation aims to collect medical materials and financial contributions from collegiate doctors and the general population, for the purchase of medical equipment and equipment that is currently lacking in health centres in Catalonia.

Donations helping Europe’s worst-affected countries

“It will also help finance the alternative production, through 3D printing and other methods, of respirators and personal protection equipment for healthcare staff.”

Before Guardiola made his donation, the campaign had raised 33,000 euros ($A59,000) in three days.

Spain is the country worst affected by the disease in Europe outside of Italy, with more than 2,690 deaths and almost 40,000 positive cases.

The region of Catalonia, where Guardiola is from and where Messi has lived since joining Barca aged 13, is one of the worst-affected parts of the country.

Robert Lewandowski and wife Anna have donated €1m to charity, while the Pole’s Bayern Munich team-mates Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka donated €1m between them to a ‘We Kick Corona’ fundraiser the pair helped start.

That was on top of their contributions to the German national team’s €2.5m donation to WirHelfen (WeHelp), another fundraising organisation in the country.

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for hospitals dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy.

In less than a week, it has raised more than 300,000 euros ($A543,000).

"Italy has always given me so much, and in this dramatic moment, I want to give back even more to this country I love," the 38-year-old explained in a video posted on Twitter.

"I decided, together with the people who are working with me, to create a fundraiser for Humanitas hospitals and to use my communication power to spread the message wider. It’s a serious issue and we need concrete help that’s not just about a video.

"I count on the generosity of my colleagues, of all professional athletes and of those who want to make a small or large donation according to their possibilities to kick this virus away. Together we can really help hospitals and doctors and nurses who selflessly work every day to save our lives, because today we are the ones cheering for them."

With agencies