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Cristiano Ronaldo handed ban for obscene gesture

The 39-year-old responded to chants of ‘Messi’ by turning to rival supporters and pumping his hand forward in front of his pelvic area

Jamie Braidwood
Thursday 29 February 2024 13:35 GMT
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Cristiano Ronaldo makes obscene gesture to fans after Messi chants

Cristiano Ronaldo has been handed a one-match ban for making an obscene gesture following a win for his Al Nassr team in Saudi Arabia.

The 39-year-old Ronaldo responded to “Messi” chants from rival Al Shabab supporters by turning towards them, cupping his ear and repeatedly pumping his hand forward in front of his pelvic area.

The gesture was not caught on television cameras but circulated online, sparking criticism from pundits in Saudi Arabia and an investigation from Saudi Football Federation’s disciplinary and ethics committee.

The committee ruled that Ronaldo had been found to be “‘provoking fans’ or ‘inciting fans” with his gesture towards the Al Shabab supporters.

Ronaldo has been suspended for one league match, while he has also been fined 30,000 SAR (£6,000).

Ronaldo had opened the scoring but Al Nassr required a late winner from Talisca to beat Al Shabab 3-2, who taunted Ronaldo with chants of “Messi” - in reference of his long-time football rival.

It’s not the first time Ronaldo has been embroiled in controversy since moving to Saudi Arabia.

In April last year, he appeared to grab his genitals while on his way to the dugout following the end of a league game against Al Hilal, which Al Nassr lost 2-0.

Earlier this month, he picked up an Al Hilal scarf thrown at him from the stands, put it in his shorts and then threw it away as he walked towards the tunnel after Al Nassr lost 2-0 in the Riyadh Season Cup final.

Ronaldo will miss Al Nassr’s match against Al-Hazm (Getty Images)

After this latest incident, prominent pundits in Saudi Arabia called for Ronaldo to be punished.

“The disciplinary committee is facing the biggest test. We will wait and see,” Waleed Al Farraj, a television host, said on social media platform X. “Everything has its limits, no matter how famous you are. This is how the major leagues are.”

Al Nassr’s next match is today, a home fixture against Al-Hazm. Ronaldo, who moved to the Riyadh-based club in December 2022, has a league-leading 22 goals,

Al Nassr trails fellow league leader Al Hilal by seven points, while they are also in the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League.

Includes reporting from Reuters and AP

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