Saudi Football Body Suspends, Fines Ronaldo Over Gesture

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation suspended Cristiano Ronaldo for one match due to a gesture he made during a recent game, which was deemed provocative. Ronaldo, who captains Al-Nassr, was also fined 30,000 riyals ($8,000) for violating rules against inciting the crowd.

The decision is final and cannot be appealed. Video footage captured Ronaldo making a gesture towards his groin in response to taunts from the crowd chanting Lionel Messi’s name. Ronaldo defended his actions, stating it symbolized strength and victory, and is common in European football.

The incident sparked widespread discussion on Saudi social media. Ronaldo, a prominent figure in football, joined Al-Nassr in January 2023, marking a significant move for Saudi football, which has been attracting top talent.

This trend includes players like Karim Benzema, Neymar, and Sadio Mane, who have opted for lucrative contracts in Saudi Arabia. However, Saudi Arabia’s sports ambitions have faced criticism, with accusations of “sportswashing” to improve its global image amidst concerns over human rights and environmental issues.


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