Ronaldo may face suspension for provoking fans

By Hoang An   February 27, 2024 | 01:36 am PT
Ronaldo may face suspension for provoking fans
Cristiano Ronaldo (number 7) complains with the referee after a play in the Saudi Pro League game between Al Nassr and Al-Shabab on Feb. 25, 2024. Photo by AFP
The provocative reaction of Al Nassr star Cristiano Ronaldo to Al-Shabab fans after a match is under investigation by the Saudi Pro League.

According to Goal, Al-Shabab FC has requested the disciplinary committee of the Saudi Pro League to investigate Ronaldo's actions after the match on Sunday night. The committee has accepted the case and started the investigation, with the final decision expected within 48 hours.

On Monday night, Saudi Arabian newspaper Al Riyadiya reported that Ronaldo could face a two-match suspension and a fine for the behavior considered unsportsmanlike. However, the Saudi Pro League has yet to announce any punishment for him.

Ronaldo drew controversy after the final whistle of Al Nassr’s win over hosts Al-Shabab 3-2 in the Saudi Pro League. He cupped his hand to his ear, gesturing towards the opposing fans in a provocative manner. The 39-year-old striker then extended his hand in front of his hip area, then flicked it forward repeatedly.

His gesture was in response to Al-Shabab fans who had repeatedly chanted Lionel Messi's name to mock Ronaldo during the match.

This is not the first time Ronaldo has made such provocative gestures when being mocked by Saudi Arabian fans or when they chant Messi's name. In additon, when Anderson Talisca scored to make it 3-2 for Al Nassr in the Sunday game, Ronaldo celebrated by thrusting his hips back and forth three times.

He had celebrated in a similar manner while playing for Juventus, after scoring a hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 in March 2019.

During the Riyadh Cup friendly final against Al Hilal on Feb. 8, Ronaldo was also criticized for a gesture. After fans threw shirts onto the field, he stuffed a shirt into his shorts and then threw it back into the stand.

Ronaldo is the biggest star in the history of the Saudi Pro League, with a salary of $75 million per year. With endorsement deals included, his income could go up to $220 million per season. Since moving to Al Nassr in January 2023, he has only been suspended for one match due to receiving enough yellow cards.

The heaviest suspension he has ever received in his career was a five-match ban for pushing a referee during the El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup in 2017.

Cristiano Ronaldo makes a gesture in response to the audience after the game between Al-Shabab and Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, Feb. 25, 2024.

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