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Cristiano Ronaldo suspended over alleged offensive gesture in Saudi League game

"The former Real Madrid and Manchester United stars will also have to pay a fine of 20,000 Saudi Riyals ($5,333) to Al-Shabab to cover the costs of the club filing the complaint, and half of that amount to the federation"

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Saudi Arabia’s football governing body has suspended Cristiano Ronaldo for one game over a gesture he made on the pitch last weekend that was judged “provocative.”.

A video emerged after his side’s 3-2 win against Al-Shabab, showing Ronaldo making a repeated thrusting gesture towards his groin in response to crowds taunting him by chanting the name of his longtime rival, Lionel Messi.

The Disciplinary and Ethics Committee of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) committee announced the ban on social media early Thursday morning local time. Al-Nassr’s next league game is at home to Al-Hazm on Thursday.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United star will also have to pay a fine of 20,000 Saudi Riyals ($5,333) to Al-Shabab to cover the costs of the club filing the complaint, and half of that amount to the federation.

Persecondnews reports that the committee’s decision was not open to appeal.

Although television cameras did not record the incident, former players and commentators in Saudi Arabia heavily criticized Ronaldo’s actions after he scored a penalty in the first half of the game.

According to reports in the Saudi Arabian media, the 39-year-old told the committee that the gesture was one of victory and common in Europe.

It is not the first time that the Portuguese forward has been at the centre of controversy since joining Al-Nassr.

Last April, upon leaving the field after a game against Al-Hilal, Ronaldo appeared to grab his genitals as fans chanted Messi’s name. On that occasion, Al-Nassr said that the forward had sustained a groin injury in the match.

Ronaldo, who moved to the Riyadh-based club in December 2022, has a league-leading 22 goals.

He scored the opener against Al Shabab, a first-half penalty.

Al Nassr is also in the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League, a tournament it has never won.

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