Earlier this year, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was allowed to share a home with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez in Saudi Arabia despite the country’s law prohibiting cohabitation by unmarried couples.
But while the state “turned a blind eye” to that, Ronaldo’s latest brush with the country’s conservative laws could leave his stint with Saudi club All Nassr hanging in the balance.
The Obscene Gesture
The 38-year-old football superstar was caught on camera grabbing his crotch in response to fans who chanted the name of his rival – Lionel Messi, as he was leaving the pitch after Al Nassr’s 2-0 defeat to Al Halil at Riyadh’s King Fahd International Stadium last week.
With the incident caught on camera and the video circulating on social media, lawyer Nouf bin Ahmed has led calls for Ronaldo to be punished. The lawyer, who specializes in international law, has filed a case with the Saudi Prosecutor’s office, accusing the football superstar of committing a crime of public indecency.
If proven to be a deliberate act, the crime is punishable by arrest and deportation if it is committed by a foreigner. Deportation could mean the end of Ronaldo’s tenure with Al Nassr less than one year after he arrived to a hero’s welcome in the Middle East country.
A Rough Season for Ronaldo
It has been a rough year for Ronaldo, who was introduced as the world’s greatest footballer in front of a massive crowd at Mrsool Park at the start of the year. The Portugal international signed with Al Nassr last December after a falling out with Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag.
Ronaldo had several opportunities to play elsewhere but ultimately decided to sign a reported $75 million per year deal with Al Nassr through 2025. But despite his superstar presence, All-Nassr sits second in the Saudi Pro League table. With only six matches left to play, they trail leaders Al Ittihad by six points.
This past Monday, Al Nassr bowed out of the Saudi King Cup of Champions after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of a 10-man Al-Wehda side in the semifinals. Despite needing just one goal and being up one man in the final 40 minutes, Ronaldo and company could not find the back of the net in another disappointing performance.