Cristiano Ronaldo fined and suspended for one match by Saudi football federation

Al Nassr captain ordered to pay Al Shabab's costs for filing complaint over offensive gesture

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - FEBRUARY 25: Cristiano Ronaldo of Al Nassr celebrates after scoring the 1st goal during the Saudi Pro League match between Al-Shabab and Al-Nassr at Al-Shabab Club Stadium on February 25, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Yasser Bakhsh / Getty Images)
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Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for one match and ordered to pay a fine for making what was perceived to be an offensive gesture at the end of a Saudi Pro League game at the weekend.

The Al Nassr captain was captured on video immediately after his side’s 3-2 win at Al Shabab reacting to chants of “Messi” from the home crowd by cupping his ear. He then repeatedly thrust his hand towards his pelvic area.

The incident was not picked up by television cameras, but videos of the Portugal international making the gesture were captured by the public and quickly posted on social media.

Early on Thursday, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation’s Disciplinary and Ethics Committee announced Ronaldo had received a one-match ban. Nassr, second in the Saudi Pro League and seven points behind Al Hilal, are next in action on Thursday night, at home to bottom side Al Hazem.

Ronaldo, 39, will also have to pay a fine of 20,000 SAR ($5,333) to Shabab, to cover the costs of the club filing the complaint, and another 10,000 SAR to the federation. The committee said that the decision was not open to appeal.

Reports in Saudi Arabia claimed Ronaldo, the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus forward, told the disciplinary committee that the gesture was common in Europe, and that it was used simply to convey victory.

Ronaldo has been the subject of similar criticism before in Saudi. Last April, he was accused of making an obscene gesture towards Hilal supporters after Nassr had been beaten 2-0 in a title showdown at their city rivals. Nassr eventually finished second to Jeddah's Al Ittihad.

Then, following another 2-0 defeat to Hilal earlier this month 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, currently tops the Saudi Pro League scoring charts with 22 goals in 20 matches.

Ronaldo is expected to return to the Nassr line-up for Monday’s Asian Champions League quarter-final first leg in Al Ain.

Updated: February 29, 2024, 8:38 AM