Furor erupts over Ronaldo’s apparent obscene taunt in Saudi league match

Al Nassr’s Cristiano Ronaldo kicks the ball during Riyadh Season Cup 2024 final match against Al Hilal at Kingdom Arena Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. (AP Photo)
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Cristiano Ronaldo has come under heavy criticism after seemingly making an offensive gesture following Al Nassr’s 3-2 victory over Al Shabab in a Saudi Pro League match on Sunday.

The Portuguese star scored a first half penalty, before Brazilian Talisca’s late brace, including a goal four minutes from time, secured the win for Al Nassr.

After the final whistle, videos posted on social media showed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner cupping his ear and repeatedly thrusting his hand forward near his pelvis, seemingly aimed at rival Al Shabab supporters.

In the background, chants of “Messi” could be heard, referring to Ronaldo’s longstanding football rival from Argentina.

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While the incident was not captured by television cameras, critcism of the 39-year-old Portuguese has been swift and local media reports say that the Saudi football federation (SAFF) has opened an investigation.

Ronaldo, who completed a lucrative move to the Riyadh-based club in December 2022, has a league-leading 22 goals this season. Al Nassr trail fellow big-spending rivals Al Hilal by four points, having played a game more.

Al-Nassr is also in contention for the Asian Champions League — a tournament it has never won — and will play Al-Ain of the United Arab Emirates in the quarterfinals next month.

Source: AP