Ronaldo Faces Ban, Fine for Gesture in Saudi Match

Ronaldo faces repercussions for controversial celebration in Saudi league

by Zain ul Abedin
Ronaldo Faces Ban, Fine for Gesture in Saudi Match
© Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

In a recent development within the Saudi Pro League, renowned footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has been sanctioned with a one-game suspension and imposed a financial penalty following an indecorous gesture aimed at rival fans.

The incident, a direct response to provocations involving Lionel Messi chants, underscores the ongoing rivalry and fan dynamics in the sport. Ronaldo, a global football icon with an illustrious career spanning clubs such as Manchester United and Real Madrid, has been a central figure in the Middle East's football scene.

His transfer to Al Nassr marked a significant milestone in the region's ambitious efforts to elevate its footballing status over the past two years. In a notable performance that contributed to Al Nassr's 3-2 victory over Al Shabab, Ronaldo's penalty kick initiation and Anderson Talisca's decisive goals underscored his pivotal role in the team's success.

Ronaldo's Gesture Penalized

Despite his achievements, Ronaldo's tenure in Saudi Arabia has been marred by constant heckling from the stands, with a particular emphasis on comparisons to his longtime rival, Messi. The Portuguese superstar's recent reaction, involving a provocative gesture towards Al Shabab supporters, has led to disciplinary action.

Captured on camera, Ronaldo's act of cupping his ear and making repeated motions towards his pelvic area has been met with a reprimand from the Saudi Arabia Football Federation's (SAFF) Disciplinary and Ethics Committee. Consequently, Ronaldo will be absent from Al Nassr's upcoming match against Al Hazm and is obliged to pay a fine of £4,190, directed towards Al Shabab for their complaint proceedings.

The committee's decision is final, leaving no room for appeal. In defence of his actions, Ronaldo expressed that such gestures are commonplace in European football, intended to symbolize strength and triumph rather than to offend.

"I respect all clubs. And the joy after the shot expresses strength and victory, and it is not shameful. We are used to it in Europe," he stated. Despite drawing an annual salary of approximately £160m, Ronaldo's conduct on the field has sparked controversy.

Notable instances include a suggestive gesture following a defeat to Al Hilal and a disrespectful act involving an Al Hilal scarf after a loss in the Riyadh Season Cup final. These episodes highlight the challenges Ronaldo faces as he navigates the cultural and competitive landscapes of Saudi Arabian football.