Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Football: Cristiano Ronaldo suspended for an “offensive gesture"

Football: Cristiano Ronaldo suspended for an “offensive gesture"
Cristiano Ronaldo during an AFC Champions League match at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran,   -  
Copyright © africanews
Vahid Salemi/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for one match for making an allegedly offensive gesture during a Saudi Championship match while playing for Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League.

Following Al-Nassr's 3-2 victory over Riyadh rivals Al-Shabab on Sunday, video footage showed Ronaldo covering his ear and repeatedly pushing his hand forward, near his pelvis, in a gesture that appeared to be aimed at Al-Shabab supporters.

Background chants of "Messi", about Lionel Messi, Ronaldo's longtime rival, were heard.

The Saudi Football Federation's (SAFF) Disciplinary and Ethics Committee announced the sanction on social media early Thursday morning local time. Al-Nassr's next league match will take place on Thursday at home against Al-Hazm.

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 filing a complaint by the club, and half of that amount to the Federation. The commission said the decision was not subject to appeal.

Although the incident was not captured by television cameras, Ronaldo's gesture, which scored a penalty in the first half, was widely criticized in Saudi Arabia by former players and commentators.

According to Saudi media, the 39-year-old told the commission it was a victory gesture, common in Europe.

This is not the first time the Portuguese striker has been at the centre of controversy since joining Al-Nassr. Last April, while leaving the pitch after a match against Al-Hilal, Ronaldo appeared to grab his genitals as fans chanted Messi's name. On this occasion, Al-Nassr said that the striker injured his groin during the match.

Ronaldo, who joined the Riyadh club in December 2022, has 22 league goals. He opened the scoring against Al Shabab, with a penalty in the first half.

Al Nassr is also in the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League, a competition he has never won.

View more