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Saudi Football Federation suspends, fines Ronaldo for provocative gesture

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Saudi Football Federation suspends, fines Ronaldo for provocative gesture

Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for one game and fined $8,000 by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation for a gesture deemed a “provocation”.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation said the Al-Nassr captain and former Sporting Lisbon star was also fined a total of 30,000 riyals ($8,000) for the move, which broke rules against provoking the public during a match. The decision cannot be appealed.

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This ruling was made after a video emerged that revealed 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 content quickly went viral and surged to the top of Saudi social media trending topics. Sports newspaper Al-Riyadiya reported Ronaldo as saying he respected all football clubs and that the gesture expressed “strength and victory” – not offense – and was considered acceptable in Europe.

The 39-year-old, a five-time winner of the UEFA Champions League, was the first major star to move to the kingdom when he penned a deal with Al-Nassr in January 2023.

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