Cristiano Ronaldo suspended for alleged offensive gesture

Cristiano Ronaldo was suspended for a match for making an allegedly offensive gesture during a game in Saudi Arabia with the Al Nassr in the professional league.

The suspension was announced early Thursday in Riyadh, where the meeting took place.

A series of images spread on social networks seemed to show that Cristiano was putting a hand to his ear, as if he wanted to listen well to the noise of the public. The star placed another hand near his pelvis, in an apparent offensive gesture to the fans of the rival club Al Shabab.

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The event occurred on Sunday, when Al Nassr beat Al Shabab 3-2.

“Messi” chants could be heard in the background. The Portuguese star starred in a long rivalry with the Argentine Lionel Messi when both played in Spanish football.

Although the television cameras did not capture the gesture, criticism of the 39-year-old forward soon came from former players and commentators in Saudi Arabia.

The Disciplinary and Ethics Commission of the Saudi Football Federation announced the punishment on social media. Al Nassr’s next match is scheduled for this Thursday, hosting Al-Hazm.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United player will also have to pay a fine of 209,000 reais ($5,333) to Al-Shabab, to cover the costs the club incurred in filing the complaint. Half of that amount will go to the federation.

The Portuguese made the gestures when in the stands a group of fans chanted “Messi, Messi” against him. after a score by Al-Nassr.

Regarding the fact, before the sanction was confirmed, Ronaldo expressed that the gesture made is a “common celebration.” He mentioned that he was not seeking to mock or provoke Al-Shabab followers.

The Commission clarified that its decision is final.

Cristiano, who moved to the Riyadh-based club in December 2022, has 22 goals, the most in the league. He scored the goal that opened the scoring against Al Shabab, from a penalty in the first half.

Al Nassr trails league leaders Al Hilal by four points. He has played one more game.

Likewise, Al Nassr has reached the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League, a tournament he has never won.

It is not the first time Cristiano has been involved in a controversy since joining Al-Nassr. In April, when he was leaving the field after a duel against Al-Hilal, Cristiano appeared to touch his genitals when fans chanted Messi’s name.

On that occasion, the club claimed that the forward had injured his groin in the match.

This time, according to Saudi media, the Portuguese argued before the Commission that the sanctioned gesture was a sign of triumph and was very commonly used in Europe.

Minutes after the sanction was announced, Ronaldo photographed himself sitting on a machine in a gym doing exercises to strengthen his legs. The footballer accompanied the image with a message in which he wrote: “I can’t stop.”

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FOUNTAIN: With information from AP