Ronaldo Banned by Saudi FA Over Offensive Gesture Made Towards Fans

Ronaldo Banned by Saudi FA Over Offensive Gesture Made Towards Fans
Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for one match for making an alleged offensive gesture during a Saudi Pro League game while playing for Al Nassr.

After Al Nassr defeated their Riyadh rivals Al-Shabab 3-2 on Sunday, video footage appeared to show Ronaldo cupping his ear and repeatedly thrusting his hand forward near his pelvis, in a gesture that seemed to be aimed at Al-Shabab fans.

Background chants of “Messi,” referencing Ronaldo’s longstanding football rival Lionel Messi, could be heard.

The Disciplinary and Ethics Committee of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) committee announced the ban on Thursday morning. Al Nassr’s next league game is at home to Al-Hazem on Thursday evening.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United star will also have to pay a fine of 20,000 Saudi Riyals ( $5,333) to Al-Shabab, to cover the costs of the club filing the complaint, and half of that amount to the federation.

The committee said that the decision was not open to appeal.

While the incident was not captured by television cameras, the action was widely criticised in Saudi Arabia by former players and commentators.

It is not the first time that the Portuguese forward has been at the centre of controversy since joining Al Nassr. Last April, upon leaving the field after a game against Al Hilal, Ronaldo appeared to grab his genitals as fans chanted Messi’s name. On that occasion, Al Nassr said that the forward had sustained a groin injury in the match.

Ronaldo, who moved to the Riyadh-based club in December 2022, has a league-leading 22 goals. He scored the opener against Al-Shabab, a first-half penalty.

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Al Nassr are also in the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League, a tournament the club has never won.

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