Saudi Pro League: Cristiano Ronaldo receives ban over alleged troubling gesture towards opposing fans

Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for one match for making an alleged offensive gesture during a Saudi Pro League game while playing for Al Nassr.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has banned Cristiano Ronaldo for one match and fined him 30,000 Saudi Riyals (£6,300) for his celebrations last Sunday.

After chants of “Messi” were heard in the crowd, the Portuguese striker pumped his hand forward in front of his pelvic area after scoring in Al-Nassr’s 3-2 win away against Al-Shabab.

This was deemed by the SAFF to have caused ‘public excitement by gesture’.

The celebration wasn’t captured on local broadcasts but was uploaded onto social media by a fan, which led to a complaint by Al-Shabab, according to Saudi news outlet Arriyadiyah.

The Al-Nassr forward then cupped his ear towards the opposition supporters 

The footage was presented to the committee who stated that Ronaldo violated Article 57-1 of the Disciplinary and Ethics Regulations.

The Article states:

“Any person who causes public excitement by action, word, or gesture during any match shall be suspended for one match, and shall be punished with a fine of 10,000 riyals.”

Fan footage captured him appearing to respond to ‘Messi chants’

The 10,000 fine will be paid to the SAFF, and Ronaldo has also been ordered to pay another 20,000 to Al-Shabab to cover the cost of filing their complaint.

Ronaldo denied performing any ‘disgraceful gesture’, but Al-Nassr will not appeal the ruling and prepare for their upcoming match without him.

It’s reported that Ronaldo provided the SAFF with a statement where he argued his case and compared his actions in Saudi Arabia with how it would be received in Europe.

“I respect all clubs… and the movement in the shot expresses strength and victory, and is not disgraceful, and we have become accustomed to it in Europe, which is what I highlighted,” Ronaldo said.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has experienced pro-Messi chants during matches before, but wasn’t expecting it in Saudi Arabia where he has become the face of the league.

Their rivalry has dominated football for nearly two decades, with the Ballon D’Or award being handed to either Messi or Ronaldo between 2008-2017. Both players had received five awards at the end of that dominant era before Luka Modric broke the streak, but Messi has gone on to win three more awards since.

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