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Cristiano Ronaldo Slammed for Making NSFW Gesture at Saudi Soccer Fans

Yazeed Aldhawaihi/Reuters
Yazeed Aldhawaihi/Reuters

Soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo has been hit with an angry backlash in Saudi Arabia after he appeared to make an extremely lewd gesture at the supporters of his team’s rivals on Sunday.

The 39-year-old scored the opener for Al-Nassr in their 3-2 win over their Saudi Pro League competitors Al-Shabab. After the game, Ronaldo seemed to gloat to the Al-Shabab fans by cupping his ear and then making a pumping gesture in his groin area.

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Although the moment wasn’t captured on television cameras, videos from witnesses circulated on social media. Chants of “Messi”—referring to Ronaldo’s Argentinian archrival—can be heard in the background.

No official response to the incident has yet been issued but some Saudi critics have called for the Portuguese athlete to face punishment. Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported that the country’s national football federation (SAFF) is now investigating the “immoral move.”

It’s not yet clear what—if any—disciplinary action Ronaldo could face. Since joining Al-Nassr as a free agent from Manchester United in 2022, Ronaldo has been the Saudi Pro League’s biggest name and current leading goal-scorer, as well as being the highest-paid player in the sports history on a reported salary of around $200 million a year.

His apparent outburst over the weekend isn’t the first time he’s been at the center of controversy during his time in the kingdom. In April last year, Ronaldo appeared to grab his genitals as he was walking off the field in a game which his team lost 2-0. This months, he was also criticized stuffing an Al-Hilal scarf down his shorts which had been thrown at him from the stands as the team defeated Al-Nassr in the Riyadh Season Cup final.

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