Soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo handed one-match ban by Saudi FA for ‘inciting fans’

Ronaldo was subjected to chants of ‘Messi’ and marked Al Nassr’s win over Al Shabab by cupping his ear and thrusting his hand towards his pelvis.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for one game for gesturing to supporters in Saudi Arabia
Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for one game for gesturing to supporters in Saudi Arabia. Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for one game for gesturing to supporters in Saudi Arabia (Mike Egerton/PA)

Cristiano Ronaldo will serve a one-game suspension on Thursday after the Saudi Arabian Football Federation disciplined its star player for an offensive gesture at opposition fans.

Ronaldo is set to miss Al Nassr’s Saudi Pro League clash against Al Hazm after the country’s governing body took a hard-line approach to the Portuguese forward’s conduct during a 3-2 win over Al Shabab.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had reportedly been subjected to persistent chants of ‘Messi’, in reference to his long-time La Liga rival, when he marked Al Nassr’s victory by cupping his ear and thrusting his hand towards his pelvis.

The moment did not appear in a live broadcast, but caught the attention of the SAFF after appearing via mobile phone footage on social media.

A spokesperson told PA news agency: “The Disciplinary and Ethics Committee at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation has issued a one-match ban to Cristiano Ronaldo as well as a 10,000 Saudi Riyal fine to SAFF and 20,000 SAR fine payable to the opposition club Al Shabab FC for ‘provoking fans’ or ‘inciting fans’ as per Article 57 of the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.”

The total monetary cost to the 39-year-old comes to less than £6,500, who is said to be earning more than £170million per year.

Local outlet Al-Riyadiya reported that Ronaldo had sought to explain his actions, citing a written statement which said: “I respect all clubs. The joy after the shot expresses strength and victory, and it is not shameful. We are used to it in Europe.”