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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

Ronaldo faces criticism after appearing to make obscene gesture in Saudi Pro League match

The Portugal forward opened the scoring with a 21st-minute penalty but Al Nassr needed a late goal from Brazilian Talisca, who struck twice, to settle the game with four minutes left

Reuters Riyadh Published 27.02.24, 09:59 AM
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo File image

Cristiano Ronaldo faced a flurry of criticism after appearing to make an obscene gesture following the end of Al Nassr's 3-2 win over Al Shabab in an exciting Saudi Pro League game on Sunday.

The Portugal forward opened the scoring with a 21st-minute penalty but Al Nassr needed a late goal from Brazilian Talisca, who struck twice, to settle the game with four minutes left.

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After the final whistle, social media videos captured Ronaldo cupping his ear before repeatedly pumping his hand forward in front of his pelvic area. The action appeared to be directed at the rival Al Shabab supporters.

In the background, chants of "Messi" could be heard, referencing Ronaldo's long-term football rival from Argentina.

The incident was not caught on television cameras, but some Saudi pundits said Ronaldo should be sanctioned.

There has been no official response but Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat said the national football federation (SAFF) had opened an investigation into the incident.

"The disciplinary committee is facing the biggest test. We will wait and see," Waleed Al Farraj, a prominent Saudi writer and television host, said on social media platform X.

"Everything has its limits, no matter how famous you are."

Al Nassr were not immediately available to comment.

Ronaldo, 39, has faced similar criticism in the past. 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.

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