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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo Under Scrutiny for Post-Match Gesture in Saudi Pro League Clash

Riyadh, February 25, 2024, The Europe Today: In a highly charged Saudi Pro League encounter between Al Nassr and Al Shabab on Sunday, Cristiano Ronaldo found himself facing criticism for an apparent obscene gesture following Al Nassr’s 3-2 victory.

Ronaldo, who opened the scoring with a 21st-minute penalty, witnessed an exhilarating match culminating in a late winner from Brazilian Talisca. However, the spotlight shifted from the on-field action to Ronaldo’s conduct after the final whistle. Social media videos circulated capturing the Portugal forward cupping his ear and making repetitive hand motions in front of his pelvic area, seemingly directed towards rival Al Shabab supporters.

Although the incident was not captured by television cameras, Saudi pundits expressed discontent, suggesting potential sanctions for Ronaldo. The chants of “Messi” in the background, referring to Ronaldo’s perennial football rival from Argentina, added a contentious layer to the situation.

While there has been no official response, Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported that the national football federation (SAFF) has initiated an investigation into the incident. Waleed Al Farraj, a prominent Saudi writer and television host, commented on social media, stating, “The disciplinary committee is facing the biggest test. We will wait and see. Everything has its limits, no matter how famous you are. This is how the major leagues are.”

Al Nassr, Ronaldo’s current club, was not immediately available for comment.

This is not the first time Ronaldo has faced criticism for his post-match actions in Saudi Arabia. In April last year, he seemingly grabbed his genitals after a league game against Al Hilal, and earlier this month, he stirred controversy by picking up an Al Hilal scarf thrown at him, putting it in his shorts, and then discarding it as he left the field.

Despite the off-field controversy, Ronaldo remains a prolific force on the pitch, leading the Saudi league’s scoring charts with 22 goals in 20 appearances this season. Al Nassr currently holds the second position in the league table with 52 points, trailing Al Hilal by four points with a game in hand.