- Ronaldo grabbed crotch in response to Messi taunts
- Widespread offence has led to calls for expulsion
- Al-Nassr claim gesture was due to "sensitive" injury
WHAT HAPPENED? The Portugal international once again dominated the headlines both during and after his side's 2-0 loss to Al-Hilal on Tuesday. After being booked for a WWE-style tackle, Ronaldo reacted to chants from home supporters of Lionel Messi by grabbing his crotch in their direction. The obscene gesture appears to have caused widespread offence throughout the country, not least due to it coming during the holy month of Ramadan, and a trend has emerged online seeking to oust Ronaldo under the title "Expelling the fan's abuser".
WHAT THEY SAID: Al-Nassr have attempted to play down the significance of Ronaldo's gesture, attributing it instead to a "sensitive" injury in the groin region. The club's board clarified the incident to journalist Muhammed Al-Enezi, who said in a statement on Wednesday: "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.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Tuesday's reaction was not the first time Ronaldo has lashed out following taunts from opposition supporters involving his eternal Argentine rival. But it also likely reflects his frustration at yet more dropped points for Al-Nassr, who have recently lost their grip on the Saudi Pro League title race and now sit three points behind leaders Al-Ittihad, who boast a game in hand.
AND WHAT'S MORE: This is also not the first time that Ronaldo has been in the spotlight after showing his frustration at Al-Nassr. The forward argued with opponents and stormed down the tunnel after his side were held to a goalless draw by Al-Feiha. The draw left Ronaldo reportedly furious with his team's tactical approach and saw manager Rudi Garcia sacked the following day after an apparent feud with the Portuguese superstar. Ronaldo has 11 goals in 13 appearances for the Saudi Pro League side since signing from Manchester United
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WHAT NEXT FOR RONALDO? Having dropped more points and with all the noise going on around him, the Portugal star will look to bounce back when he leads his side out at home to Al-Wehda on April 24 in their King Cup semi-final.