Cristiano Ronaldo suspended for 1 match over gesture toward fans


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Cristiano Ronaldo was punished Wednesday after he was accused of making an obscene gesture toward heckling fans after Al Nassr’s match in the Saudi Pro League earlier in the week.

The Disciplinary and Ethics Committee of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) suspended Ronaldo for one match. Videos posted to social media show Ronaldo making a hand motion near his groin toward fans who were chanting “Messi” toward him.

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Cristiano Ronaldo in 2023

Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr Cristiano Ronaldo reacts in a match with Iran’s Persepolis at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Sept. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi), File)

It came after Al Nassr defeated Al-Shabab 3-2. Ronaldo scored on a penalty in the first half.

The organization said the decision was not open to appeal. The soccer superstar will also have to pay a fine of around $5,333 (20,000 Saudi Riyals) to Al-Shabab to cover the cost of filing the complaint and half of that amount to the federation, according to The Associated Press.

Ronaldo didn’t appear to directly respond to the discipline.

“Can’t stop,” he wrote on X with a picture of him working out.

Cristiano Ronaldo in June 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo speaks during a press conference for his official unveiling as a new member of Al Nassr soccer club in in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

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The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is leading the league with 22 goals this season. Al Nassr is second in the standings through 21 matches. The club is four points behind Al Hilal.

Ronaldo joined Al Nassr in 2022 in one of the richest transfers in history as he moved over from Manchester United. He reportedly signed a deal worth up to $200 million annually.

Cristiano Ronaldo smiles

Cristiano Ronaldo of Al Nassr prior the Saudi Pro League match against Al-Shabab on Feb. 25, 2024, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)

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The club is also in contention for the Asian Champions League. The club will play Al-Anin next month in the quarterfinals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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