Cristiano Ronaldo is being protected from threats, including ISIS terrorists, by a man who challenges half-tonne bulls with his bare hands.
Shaven-headed strongman Nuno Marecos helped keep the star safe at the recent Champions League final in Kiev.
The former elite paratrooper is expected to keep watch over Cristiano at the World Cup alongside an MMA fighter called Goncalo Salgado.
When he is not looking after the Real Madrid striker, Nuno leads a group of men based in the town of Chamusca a 70 mile drive from Lisbon who entertain crowds in bullfights during their free time.
The ballsy men form a line facing the bull and risk injury and death by encouraging it to charge them before grabbing hold of the animal and trying to overpower it using their combined strength.
Eight men – known as forcados – use their muscle and intelligence to subdue the bull.
Nuno is the leader of his group and as the first man to face the bull, the one whose job it is to egg the animal on to get it to charge before grabbing hold of the its head and holding onto its neck while his team pile in.
Any mistiming could have dramatic consequences. Forcados like Nuno have ended up in comas because of injuries.
The art they practice – which dates back nearly 100 years – is called pega de cara which translates into English as ‘face catch’ – and is usually the final event in a typical Portuguese bullfight.
Unlike in Spain where matadors plunge their swords into bulls, the animals are not killed in front of the crowd in Portugal.
It emerged earlier this year ISIS had threatened to behead Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at the World Cup in chilling mocked-up photos.
The photos showed the football stars pinned to the ground by masked jihadis in a packed football stadium.
The vile picture, released on app Telegram and captioned, ‘Your blood will fill the ground’ showed the extremists hacking at the footballers’ heads.
Ronaldo is currently holidaying with his son Cristiano Jr and girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez in Marbella before he joins up with the Portugal squad.
The 33-year-old was stopped from scoring in the Champions League final by a pitch invader who tried to tackle him but was hauled away by security at the last minute.
Nuno Marecos – full name Nuno Da Cruz Marecos – is on the books of a Portuguese private security firm run by an ex-spy.
An MMA fighter called Goncalo Salgado who also works for the same company is expected to join the bullfighter in helping to keep Cristiano safe at the World Cup.
The 6ft 2im man mountain, who has protected star surfers like Kelly Slater and Gabriel Medina in the past, was also pictured keeping watch on the footballer in Kiev last month.
Records show he has won seven fights with five KOs and lost two as a super heavyweight between 2006 and 2011.
He still works out regularly, posting pictures of him lifting heavy weights on social media.
Nuno Marecos, who comes from the city of Almeirim just over an hour’s drive north of Lisbon, describes himself as single on social media.
He is thought to have learnt a lot of the skills he now puts to use when he watches over Cristiano as a Portuguese Paratrooper.
He also describes himself as a former Director of Security at Lisbon Airport.
After putting his life on the line last year at a bullfight, he said: “We give everything we can to help each other.
“Only through this spirit of friendship and a lot of admiration for the bull, are we able to triumph and do things that we often only dream about.”
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