Cristiano Ronaldo criticised for obscene gesture during Saudi Pro League match

Al Nassr captain reacts to chants of 'Messi' from Al Shabab fans and faces potential disciplinary action

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Cristiano Ronaldo has faced heavy criticism again in Saudi Arabia after the Al Nassr captain appeared to make an offensive gesture following his side’s Saudi Pro League victory against Al Shabab on Sunday.

The Portugal star, who had earlier opened the scoring in a thrilling game that finished 3-2 for his team, seemingly reacted to chants of “Messi” from the home crowd at full-time by cupping his ear before repeatedly thrusting his hand towards his pelvic area.

The incident was not picked up by television cameras, but was soon captured by those in attendance and posted on social media.

Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported that the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) had opened an investigation into the incident, although there has been no official word from the organisation, or the Saudi Pro League.

Waleed Al Farraj, a prominent Saudi writer and television host, said on X: "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."

Ronaldo, 39, has been the subject of similar criticism before in Saudi Arabia. Last April, he was accused of making an obscene gesture towards Al Hilal supporters after Nassr had been beaten 2-0 in a title showdown at their city rivals. Hilal went on to win the league, while Nassr finished second.

Then, following another 2-0 defeat to Hilal earlier this month, this time in the Riyadh Season Cup final, Ronaldo reacted to having a Hilal scarf thrown at him by putting it inside his shorts and hurling it back at the stands.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who joined Nassr in December 2022, tops the Saudi league scoring charts with 22 goals in 20 matches. He also leads the division in assists, alongside Al Ettifaq’s Alvaro Medran, with nine.

Nassr, meanwhile, sit second in the table with 52 points, four behind Hilal, although the champions have a game in hand.

Updated: February 26, 2024, 12:24 PM