Ronaldo angers Saudi fans with obscene gestures, after 'Messi' taunts

Al-Nassr FC's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the Saudi Pro League soccer match between Al-Shabab FC and Al-Nassr FC at Al Shabab FC Stadium. -/Saudi Press Agency/dpa
Al-Nassr FC's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the Saudi Pro League soccer match between Al-Shabab FC and Al-Nassr FC at Al Shabab FC Stadium. -/Saudi Press Agency/dpa
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Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has caused a major stir in Saudi Arabia with a gesture that was deemed obscene.

Videos circulating online show the 39-year-old Portuguese apparently gesticulating in the direction of opposing fans and making hand gestures towards his groin area after his team Al-Nassr's 3-2 win against Al Shabab in the Saudi Pro League on Sunday.

Ronaldo had previously briefly put his hand to his ear, and shouts of "Messi" could be heard from the stands in the videos. Lionel Messi is Ronaldo's long-time rival.

According to media reports, the gesture was not shown on the TV broadcast, but videos of it quickly circulated on the internet and caused outraged reactions in local media. The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) is said to have launched an investigation.

Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot in the first half of the game and leads the scoring charts with 22 goals. Al-Nassr are four points behind Al Hilal in second place in the table.

Messi and Ronaldo both played in Spain's LaLiga, on opposite sides of the El Clasico derby. Messi spent 16 years with Barcelona, while Ronaldo played for Real Madrid for nine.

Combined they have won 13 of the past 15 Ballon d'Ors, the award for the best footballer in the world.

Messi left Barca in 2021 for Paris Saint-Germain, before moving to Inter Miami last year. Ronaldo left Europe just over a year ago for Saudi club Al-Nassr.

Al-Shabab's Moteb Al-Harbi (R) Ivan Rakitic battle for the ball with Al-Nassr FC's Cristiano Ronaldo during the Saudi Pro League soccer match between Al-Shabab FC and Al-Nassr FC at Al Shabab FC Stadium. -/Saudi Press Agency/dpa
Al-Shabab's Moteb Al-Harbi (R) Ivan Rakitic battle for the ball with Al-Nassr FC's Cristiano Ronaldo during the Saudi Pro League soccer match between Al-Shabab FC and Al-Nassr FC at Al Shabab FC Stadium. -/Saudi Press Agency/dpa