Cristiano Ronaldo banned from Saudi Arabian debut with Al-Nassr over earlier ‘outburst’
Wednesday - 04/01/2023 20:10Author: Editors DeskSource: News Corp Australia Network:
Plans for Cristiano Ronaldo to make his Saudi Arabian debut have hit a snag just days after he signed a $305m deal.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned from making his debut for Al-Nassr tomorrow by the English Football Association.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, 37, is now the highest-paid sportsperson ever after he signed a lucrative A$305million-a-year deal with the Saudi Pro League club, The Sun reports.
Ronaldo, who was released by Manchester United last month after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan, arrived in Riyadh on Monday and was greeted by a large group of adoring fans.
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The forward then underwent his medical on Tuesday ahead of his official unveiling, which took place at Al-Nassr’s home stadium - Mrsool Park.
He later joined his new teammates in his first training session for the club.
Al-Nassr were hoping to hand the Portuguese star his big debut on Friday morning (AEDT) having sold-out all of their 28,000 seats for their clash with Al Ta’ee.
However, he has been told he is suspended due to the punishment dished out by the FA after he slammed an Everton supporter’s phone out of their hand.
Ronaldo received a two-game ban and was fined by the FA in November following the incident with the autistic fan at Goodison Park in April and did not feature for the Red Devils again.
Ronaldo, who was walking down the tunnel, was cautioned by Merseyside Police after he shoved the young boy’s phone out of his hand after Everton had beaten United 1-0 at Goodison Park.
He later issued an apology via social media for his “outburst” and issued an invite for the supporter to be his guest for a game at Old Trafford “as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship”.
He wrote: “It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing.
“Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game.
“I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair-play and sportsmanship.”
But the 14-year-old Jake - who has autism - declined the forward’s offer and refused to accept his apology.
Due to the break for the World Cup, Ronaldo was unable to serve his suspension before his explosive United exit and now that ban will carry on to his new club.
And that effectively bars Al-Nassr from playing their new talisman until they have completed two competitive matches that he is available for.
Article 12.1 of FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players says: “Any disciplinary sanction of up to four matches or up to three months that has been imposed on a player by the former association but not yet (entirely) served by the time of the transfer shall be enforced by the new association at which the player has been registered in order for the sanction to be served at domestic level.”
The FA clarified that he must serve his suspension even if he moved abroad in their written reasons when they imposed the ban days after his high-profile interview with Morgan.
They wrote: “We note the Player has participated in a recently published interview in which he has criticised MUFC. We know not what effect that may nor will have on his future with that club nor whether it will take disciplinary action in respect thereof. The suspension we have imposed must have effect.
“In other words, it applies to MUFC’s first team competitive matches for which he is eligible for selection. Should he leave MUFC before it completes two first team competitive matches the balance of the suspension will apply to any new club he should join.
After tomorrow’s match, Al-Nassr are not back in action until Saturday 14 January in a derby against Al-Shabab.
They then face Ettifaq at home on January 21 - which now looks set to be Ronaldo’s first match.
- This article originally appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission.