Al-Nassr have defender Cristiano Ronaldo amid claims that he could face exile from Saudi Arabia or even jail time after appearing to make an obscene gesture to rival fans following their defeat to Al-Hilal.
The Portuguese star was in Saudi League action against 4th placed Al-Hilal as his side looked to close the gap on league leaders Al-Ittihad, but two penalties from former Manchester United striker Odeon Ighalo saw them fall to a 2-0 defeat, and leave Al-Ittihad three points clear at the top and with a game in hand on Ronaldo’s side.
Ronaldo didn’t have the best night himself, and was lucky not to be sent off for a WWE-like tackle that referee Michael Oliver felt only deserved a yellow card.
And his evening got worse in the immediate aftermath of the defeat, when he seemed to respond to taunts by the opposition in favour of his arch-rival, Lionel Messi.
As per the Mirror, ‘as Ronaldo made his way off the pitch at the King Fahd International Stadium, he was met by huge jeers and chants of “Messi” from the home fans. The Portugal international then grabbed his genitals, appearing to make a lewd gesture towards the supporters’.
And the gesture has sent a wave of revulsion through the country, with a campaign having begun to expel him from the country as a result.
“It is considered a crime of public dishonor and is one of the crimes leading to arrest and exile if committed by a foreigner”, one expert lawyer told Dutch media.
However, Al-Nassr have defended their star man, claiming that it was a result of an injury and that fans ‘can think what they want’.
“Ronaldo suffers from an injury. His challenge with Gustavo Cuellar, the Al-Hilal player, started with a blow in a very sensitive area. This is confirmed information. As for the fans’ explanations, they are free to think whatever they want”, they explained.
The 38-year-old is back in action this weekend when they take on Al-Wehda in the King’s Cup semi-final, and will be hoping a good performance will help dispel the rumours that currently surround him.