Ronaldo threatens to punch referee after getting sent off

By Hoang An   April 8, 2024 | 09:46 pm PT
Ronaldo threatens to punch referee after getting sent off
Ronaldo elbows Ali Al-Bulaihi in Al Nassr's 1-2 defeat to Al Hilal in the semifinals of the Saudi Super Cup on April 8, 2024. Photo by Reuters
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo received a straight red card for elbowing the opponent before threatening to punch the referee in the semifinal of Saudi Super Cup between Al Hilal and Al Nassr.

Scorers: Salem Al-Dawsari 61’, Malcom 72’ – Sadio Mane 90’+9

Red card: Ronaldo 86’

In the 86th minute of the game on Monday night, when Al Nassr were trailing 0-2 to Al Hilal, Ronaldo and defender Ali Al-Bulaihi went for the ball for a throw-in. Ronaldo got the ball and intended to make a quick throw, but the Saudi Arabian player rushed forward to take it because he thought the throw-in belonged to Al Hilal. But Ronaldo, captain of Al Nassr gritted his teeth and put his elbow out to prevent Al-Bulaihi from stealing the ball. Just as Bulaihi rushed forward, Ronaldo's elbow hit the 35-year-old defender’s neck and he fell down in pain.

Referee Mohammed Al-Hoaish immediately gave Ronaldo a red card and sent him off. The Portuguese superstar was surprised, raised his fist towards Al-Hoaish and intended to punch him. At that time, the referee turned away and did not see Ronaldo's threatening action.

This is the 12th red card in Ronaldo's career and the first time he has been sent off since 2018. On his way out, Ronaldo pointed at the referee, clapped mockingly and gave him a thumbs up. The 39-year-old striker is set to face suspension for this series of actions.

Al-Bulaihi has repeatedly provoked Ronaldo in the Saudi derby games between Al Nassr and Al Hilal. One time he dived then stood up and Ronaldo ran after him and applauded. Al-Bulaihi also provoked Lionel Messi several times, when Saudi Arabia unexpectedly beat Argentina 2-1 in the opening match of the 2022 World Cup.

Ronaldo lacked restraint when he encountered many difficulties against the Al Hilal, the team that hold the world record of winning 33 consecutive games in all competitions. He missed a relevant chance in the 17th minute, with a shot that went over the bar. According to Sofascore statistics, Ronaldo only had 33 touches on the ball in 86 minutes of play, missed six shots, had six wrong passes and lost the ball nine times.

Al Hilal are the team with the richest tradition in Asia with 66 official titles, including title records in the AFC Champions League and Saudi Pro League. Coach Jorge Jesus's team are ranked 39th in the world, above Marseille, Villarreal or Wolverhampton, according to the power index of Opta. Meanwhile, Al Nassr are 89th, behind Nottingham Forest.

The defeat against Al Hilal left Al Nassr with an only chance to get a title this season, which is the King Cup, a tournament similar to England's FA Cup. Al Nassr reached the semifinals and will meet Al Ittihad on April 30. Meanwhile, Al Hilal reached the final of the Saudi Super Cup and will play Al Ittihad on April 11.

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