Last January, Cristiano Ronaldo joined Saudi club Al-Nassr, and judging by the lavish reception given to him by the team, life in Riyadh would be kind to the Portuguese striker. But it seems that the star’s ambition in Saudi Arabia has given way to criticism and controversy.
Recently, the Portugal international’s behavior has become an issue in the Islamic monarchy. Until the voices are increasing in the country to want him to be expelled..
On April 18, Al-Nassr traveled to Saudi league rivals Al-Hilal to play an important game in the Saudi Pro League title race. It was an unusual game for the veteran striker, but for a mistake in the 57th minute of the game.
Trying to save the ball to advance towards the opposing team’s goal, the striker found himself in an aerial battle with Colombian midfielder Gustavo Cuellar. Enraged, the Portuguese “strangled” the Al-Hilal player with his hands, before throwing him to the ground. A trick more suited to an octopus than a football field.
But the referee did not consider this action to be too bad, as the former Real Madrid striker received only a yellow card. A decision that surprised the audience.
Although it’s a bad look for Ronaldo, it’s not what got him into big trouble in Saudi Arabia. The second incident that happened at the end of the game, was considered so serious that it could lead to his arrest and deportation from the country.
At the end of the match, won 2-0 by Al-Hilal, Cristiano Ronaldo left the field touching his private parts, while supporters of the opposing team chanted the name of ‘Leo Messi’. The gesture was called obscene and seen as an attack on Al-Hilal supporters. While in the West the gesture did not shock much, it is something that does not happen at all in Saudi Arabia, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
Following this action, the Saudi lawyer Nouf bin Ahmed said that he is going to file a complaint against Cristiano Ronaldo for the “crime of public contempt”.
“Cristiano Ronaldo’s behavior is a crime. A public indecent act, which is one of the crimes required to be arrested and deported [from the country], if committed by a foreigner. We will submit a request to the prosecutor regarding this,” the lawyer posted on his account Twitter.
In the case of Al-Nassr, it is said that the player made this gesture because of the blow he received in the groin. In a statement, the Saudi club claims that their star striker injured his knee during his aerial fight with Gustavo Cuella.
But the Saudis do not seem to accept the club’s explanation. On social media, many have joined the movement called “Fire this fan’s abuser”, calling on the Saudi professional league authorities to sanction the player.
This controversy comes at a time when Cristiano Ronaldo is already being criticized for his performance on the pitch. The 38-year-old striker is as indecisive as before and has scored just three times in the last seven games for his club.