Cristiano Ronaldo Faces Suspension Over Provocative Gesture In The Saudi Pro League

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) The football governing body of Saudi Arabia has taken disciplinary action against Cristiano Ronaldo, suspending him for one game and imposing a 30,000 riyals ($8,000) fine for a gesture deemed a "provocation" during a match last weekend. The decision, unappealable, stems from Ronaldo's repeated thrusting gesture towards his groin in response to taunts from the crowd chanting the name of his longtime rival, Lionel Messi, following Al-Nassr's 3-2 victory against Al-Shabab. The incident quickly went viral, dominating Saudi social media discussions.

While Ronaldo explained that the gesture symbolised "strength and victory" rather than offense, Saudi rules against provoking the public during a match led to the disciplinary measures. The 39-year-old, a five-time UEFA Champions League winner, became the first major star to join the Saudi Pro League when he signed with Al-Nassr in January 2023.

Saudi Arabia's strategic investments in global sports have attracted renowned players like Karim Benzema, Neymar, and Sadio Mane, with plans to host the 2034 World Cup. However, the nation faces accusations of "sportswashing" to improve its international reputation amid ongoing criticism of its human rights and environmental practices.

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