Cristiano Ronaldo banned and fined for offensive gesture in Saudi Pro League


Cristiano Ronaldo has been handed a one-game suspension in the Saudi Pro League and a fine for making an obscene gesture in response to Lionel Messi taunts from rival supporters.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward, who has been the highest-profile arrival in the Middle East during their spending spree of the last two years, helped Al Nassr beat local rivals Al Shabab 3-2 last time out, opening the scoring with a penalty before Anderson Talisca’s match-winning double.

Ronaldo has faced jeers from fans during his time in Saudi Arabia, with supporters previously riling him up with cheers for Messi, but the 39-year-old has earned himself a ban and a monetary fine for his latest response.

The Portugal international was seen cupping his ear and repeatedly thrusted his hand over his pelvic area in the direction of Al Shabab’s supporters.

The Disciplinary and Ethics Committee of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) committee has now confirmed Ronaldo will miss Thursday’s clash with Al Hazm and must pay a fine of £4,190, which will go to Shabab to cover the costs of filing a complaint.

Al-Shabab v Al-Nassr - Saudi Pro League

Ronaldo’s response to Al Shabab fans / Yasser Bakhsh/GettyImages

The decision will not be open to appeal, the committee added.

Ronaldo had defended his actions at full-time, insisting the gesture is a common one in Europe.

His statement read: “I respect all clubs. And the joy after the shot expresses strength and victory, and it is not shameful. We are used to it in Europe.”

Ronaldo makes a yearly salary of around £160m in Saudi Arabia but has faced scrutiny since his arrival in 2022 for his on-field antics.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner appeared to grab his genitals on his way to the dugout after a 2-0 defeat to Al Hilal in April and shoved a scarf of the same club down his shorts and threw it away after Al Nassr lost 2-0 in the Riyadh Season Cup final.

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