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Cristiano Ronaldo suspended for an “offensive gesture”

Cristiano Ronaldo CR7

Following Al-Nassr’s 3-2 victory over Riyadh rivals Al-Shabab on Sunday, video footage showed Ronaldo covering his ear and repeatedly pushing his hand forward, near his pelvis, in a gesture that appeared to be aimed at Al-Shabab supporters.

Background chants of “Messi”, about Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s longtime rival, were heard.

The Saudi Football Federation’s (SAFF) Disciplinary and Ethics Committee announced the sanction on social media early Thursday morning local time. Al-Nassr’s next league match will take place on Thursday at home against Al-Hazm.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United star will also have to pay a fine of 20,000 Saudi riyals ($5,333) to Al-Shabab, to cover the costs of filing a complaint by the club, and half of that amount to the Federation. The commission said the decision was not subject to appeal.

Although the incident was not captured by television cameras, Ronaldo’s gesture, which scored a penalty in the first half, was widely criticized in Saudi Arabia by former players and commentators.

According to Saudi media, the 39-year-old told the commission it was a victory gesture, common in Europe.