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March 18, 2024

Unpacking Ronaldo's controversial gesture in the Saudi Pro League

Cristiano Ronaldo gesture and controversy in Saudi Arabia

It's been weeks now since Cristiano Ronaldo was involved in a controversial incident in the Saudi Pro League. We look at what happened in the Al Nassr vs Al Shabab match, the consequences for Ronaldo and how the superstar himself has responded.

Anyone who has played sport before will know that in the heat of battle, one can be driven to do or say some wild things. That's exactly what happened to Cristiano Ronaldo last month, with the star striker coming under fire for his actions in a match for the Saudi Professional League between Al Nassr and Al Shabab, on Sunday 25 February...

Cristiano Ronaldo - Controversy in Saudi Arabia:

What Did Ronaldo Do Against Al Shabab?

For those who missed the incident, here's how things unfolded last month.

Ronaldo was playing for Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, with his club up against Al Shabab in a heated encounter. The 39-year-old was integral in the win over their rivals, scoring a penalty in the first half. Al Nassr would go on to win the game 3-2, in what was a rollercoaster match.

After Ronaldo landed his first half penalty, Al Shabab levelled the match through a penalty of their own. This was scored by Yannick Carrasco, following a mis-timed challenge by Aymeric Laporte in front of the goal. In the second half, it was more of the same, with Al Nassr edging in front through an Anderson Talisca goal, before Al Shabab pegged them back with an equaliser to Carlos Junior.

As the final whistle drew near, however, Talisca stepped up and claimed the match for Cristiano Ronaldo's side, scoring his second of the match to see Al Nassr over the line 3-2.

It was at this stage that Ronaldo became entangled with members of the crowd and stirred controversy. Following their victory, as the players were celebrating on the pitch, a range of Al Shabab's fans began chanting "Messi! Messi!" in the direction of Ronaldo. Taking offence, the Portugese player shot back at them, making a gesture in their direction.

The gesture has come under much scrutiny, with Ronaldo waving his hand in front of his crotch multiple times in a provocative manner.

What Happened After Ronaldo's Gesture?

As expected in 2024, social media immediately blew up following the incident, with speculation that Ronaldo would face sanctions as a result.

One Saudi Arabian journalist, Waleed Al-Farraj, even wrote, "Disciplinary committee, you are facing the biggest test", referring to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), and whether or not they would choose to punish their biggest name.

After the incident, the South American Football Federation (SAFF) wasted no time in addressing Ronaldo's on-field gesture, imposing a penalty shortly thereafter. It was determined that Ronaldo had violated Article 57-1 of the Discipline and Ethics Regulations, which pertains to a player's conduct during matches.

Consequently, he faced both a monetary fine and a one-match ban. The consequences of this decision were felt immediately in the online sports betting field, as prominent platforms responded by excluding Ronaldo from all proposition markets for his upcoming match.

A spokesperson from the SAFF said of the sanction, "The disciplinary and ethics committee at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation has issued a one-match ban to Cristiano Ronaldo as well as a 10,000 Saudi Riyal fine to SAFF and 20,000 SAR fine payable to the opposition club Al-Shabab FC for "provoking fans" or "inciting fans" as per article 57 of the disciplinary and ethics committee at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.”

Ronaldo's fines are equivalent to about $2,666 and $5,333 respectively...

Cristiano Ronaldo screams of joy for Al Nassr

How Has Ronaldo Responded to His Suspension?

At the time, Ronaldo did not comment on the gesture publicly. All that the striker said following the match was a cryptic tweet, declaring, "Until the very end! We keep going, no stopping!"

Since then, he has addressed the issue to clarify his side of the story. Speaking to the media in mid-March, Cristiano Ronaldo said, "I will always respect the cultures of all countries, as I have respected to this day, but not always what people see is reality".

He went on to explain, "As I said and I will say again, it is obvious that I will not do it again in this country, but in Europe, it is very normal. Sometimes the passion and excitement of the game leads us to make some mistakes".

The SAFF also revealed that Ronaldo submitted a written statement explaining his actions at the time of his sanction, saying that, "The joy after the shot expresses strength and victory, and it is not shameful".

Little else has come from the incident since then. Ronaldo sat out his club's next game, a 4-4 draw against Al-Hazm, before returning to play in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo taking a shot for Al Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Portugal is on March 21, against Sweden. You can watch Portugal vs Sweden, Italy vs Venezuela, Spain vs Colombia, England vs Brazil, Argentina vs El Salvador and Netherlands vs Scotland, all matches provided from our streaming football game pages.

Portugal next game:
Portugal vs Sweden
kick-off time (21-03-2023):

Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+7: 02:45
India (New Delhi) |
UTC/GMT+4.30: 00:15
Saudi Arabia
(Riyadh) | UTC/GMT+2: 21:45
(Madrid) | UTC/GMT+1: 20:45
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+0: 19:45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 16:45
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-4: 15:45
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-7: 12:45

Sources: / /

Cristiano Ronaldo in Al Nassr first team shirt in 2024




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