Cristiano Ronaldo investigated for gesture to fans in Saudi Arabia, according to Saudi-owned media

CNNCristiano Ronaldo has come under scrutiny for a gesture he made towards fans following Al-Nassr’s 3-2 win against Al-Shabab in the Saudi Pro League on Sunday.

In footage from the match, fans can be heard taunting Ronaldo by chanting about Lionel Messi, a long-time rival of the 39-year-old forward.

Ronaldo can be seen cupping his hand to his ear, taking in the chanting from the crowd. He then made a thrusting gesture with his hand towards his groin in the direction of spectators in the stands.

The gesture is now being investigated by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), according to Saudi-owned media outlet Asharq Al Awsat, which cited unnamed sources.

CNN has contacted Ronaldo’s representatives, the SAFF, Al-Nassr and Al-Shabab for further comment.

In Sunday’s game between the two Riyadh-based rivals, Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot for Al-Nassr – his 22nd goal in 20 league appearances this season – before Yannick Carrasco’s penalty made it 1-1 right before half-time following Aymeric Laporte’s challenge.

Al-Nassr regained the lead a minute into the second half through Talisca’s strike, but Al-Shabab responded again, this time with Carlos Júnior’s goal from close range to make it 2-2.

It was Al-Nassr, however, which would have the final say as Talisca’s second goal deep into the match completed a 3-2 victory in an exciting encounter.

Al-Nassr is now seven points behind Al-Hilal at the top of the Saudi Pro League, though Ronaldo’s gesture to supporters in the stands dominated much of the post-match commentary.

“The [SAFF] disciplinary committee, you are facing the biggest test,” prominent Saudi journalist Waleed Al-Farraj wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We wait and see. Everything has its limits, no matter how big a star you are. This is how the major leagues are.”

According to Asharq Al Awsat, the Portuguese star could face a two-match ban and a fine for the gesture.

Ronaldo is in his second season in Saudi Arabia. He scored 14 goals in 16 league appearances last year and is the top scorer in the league for the current campaign.

“Despite changes in society over the years, it goes without saying that Saudi Arabia is a conservative country,” journalist John Duerden wrote in UK newspaper The Guardian.

“This incident may be seen as an opportunity to show even the biggest football stars that they are not exempt from following cultural norms and practices.”