The Saudi FA has banned Cristiano Ronaldo for his obscene response to Lionel Messi’s chanting

According to, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has suspended Cristiano Ronaldo for one match and fined him 30,000 Saudi Riyals (£6,300) for his celebrations on Sunday. After scoring in Al-Nassr’s 3-2 victory against Al-Shabab, the Portuguese striker pushed his fist forward in front of his pelvic area as “Messi” shouts rang out in the stadium. The SAFF determined that this aroused ‘public excitement by gesture’.

The celebration was not caught on local broadcasts, but was shared to social media by a fan, prompting a complaint from Al-Shabab, according to Saudi news source Arriyadiyah. The film was shown to the commission, which concluded that Ronaldo breached Article 57-1 of the Disciplinary and Ethics Regulations.

According to the Article, “Any person who causes public excitement by action, word, or gesture during any match shall be suspended for one match, and shall be punished with a fine of 10,000 riyals.” The $10,000 fine will be paid to the SAFF, and Ronaldo has been ordered to pay an additional $20,000 to Al-Shabab to cover the expense of submitting their case.

Ronaldo denied making any ‘disgraceful gesture’, but Al-Nassr will not appeal the decision and will prepare for their forthcoming encounter without him. Ronaldo reportedly gave the SAFF with a statement in which he explained his case and contrasted his activities in Saudi Arabia to how they would be perceived in Europe.

“I respect all clubs… and the movement in the shot expresses strength and victory, and is not disgraceful, and we have become accustomed to it in Europe, which is what I highlighted,” Ronaldo remarked after the match. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has previously heard pro-Messi chants during matches, but he was not anticipating it in Saudi Arabia, where he has become the league’s face.

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Their rivalry has dominated football for over two decades, with either Messi or Ronaldo winning the Ballon D’Or award from 2008 to 2017. Both players had received five accolades at the conclusion of their dominating era when Luka Modric broke the trend, although Messi has since won three more.

They faced off in exhilarating encounters when playing for Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively, but that ended when Ronaldo joined Juventus in 2018. After 13 years away from Manchester United, the Portuguese icon re-signed with the club in 2021, but he was forced to leave after 18 months.

He then launched the Saudi movement, breaking down barriers before attracting a large number of players from Europe to the Middle East. Messi was also given a lucrative deal, but he declined and instead to join Inter Miami in Major League Soccer.

Messi has stated that he never intended to leave Barcelona, but was forced to do so owing to the club’s financial problems, and he spent two seasons at Paris Saint-Germain. At the end of his contract, he became a free agent and revealed to Miami that he was dissatisfied with his time with the French club.

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