Ronaldo handed one-game ban for Al Shabab incident

February 29 – Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for one match after appearing to make an obscene gesture during a match in Saudi Arabia.

Footage on social media appeared to show Ronaldo cupping his ear and repeatedly thrusting his hand forward near his pelvis.

The incident happened minutes after Ronaldo’s team Al Nassr beat Al Shabab 3-2 in the Saudi Pro League on Sunday.

Ronaldo’s gesture appeared to be aimed at rival supporters, who could be heard chanting ‘Messi’ in reference to the 39-year-old’s long-standing rival.

Al Nassr’s next league game is tonight, Thursday, and Ronaldo also has to pay a token fine of 20,000 Saudi riyals. The decision is not open to an appeal.

While the Portuguese superstar’s gesture wasn’t televised, footage shot by fans in the ground was shared on social media.

Ronaldo joined al Nassr as a free agent in late 2022 on a rumoured salary of more than £160 million a year – making him the highest-paid footballer in history.

This isn’t the first time his on-pitch actions have faced scrutiny in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia.

In April last year, he appeared to grab his genitals as he made his way to the dugout after his team lost a game.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1711655860labto1711655860ofdlr1711655860owedi1711655860sni@w1711655860ahsra1711655860w.wer1711655860dna1711655860

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