Cristiano Ronaldo raged at the referee, the crowd and opposing captain Jordan Henderson in a tempestuous King Cup of Champions round-of-16 match between Al-Nassr and Al-Ettifaq, as both sides ended the game with 10 players.
Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr side came through the knockout game with a 1-0 victory, courtesy of Sadio Mane’s extra-time winner, but the 38-year-old Portuguese was furious after a number of controversial decisions.
He was jeered with chants of “Messi!” from the crowd following Monday night’s Ballon d’Or, which saw Lionel Messi pick up his eighth prize, moving three clear of his old rival Ronaldo, who shushed the crowd in response.
Ronaldo signalled for Chilean referee Piero Maza to be substituted after he was adjudged to have been offside which saw his teammate Talisca’s first-half goal ruled out. Talisca was then sent off deep in second-half stoppage time when VAR upgraded a yellow card following an elbow in the face of an opponent.
Al-Ettifaq also had a player sent off when Ali Hazazi was shown red for a wild tackle, which sparked a mass brawl between both sides.
Ronaldo was booked himself for dissent and somehow avoided a second yellow despite his fury, which boiled over at the full-time whistle as he angrily gesticulated and shared stern words with Henderson, the Al-Ettifaq captain, who tried to keep the peace.
It is not the first time Ronaldo has lost his temper since moving to Saudi Arabia. He screamed at the referee, shoved a selfie-taking fan and stormed off the pitch in fury after an Asian Champions League win over Shabab Al-Ahli of the United Arab Emirates in August.
Ronaldo was furious after his spectacular bicycle kick, while still down in the game, was blocked by a defender’s hand and he was not awarded a penalty. Despite coming back to win 4-2, Ronaldo was not on the scoresheet and left the pitch in a rage.
Telles, who won the Europa League last season while on loan at Sevilla, signed a contract until 2025 with Al-Nassr in July.
”When Al-Nassr talked to me the first time, I sent a massage to Cristiano and his answer was to come (join him),” Telles said in an interview posted on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter. “Of course, Cristiano continues to develop and his experience increases every day.
“Watch the number of goals he scores. I will be biased when I talk about him because of the records he broke, and I was lucky to play with him at Manchester United and then Al-Nassr. (Ronaldo) is still a decisive player and a great leader who always takes responsibility in the dressing room, helps everyone and creates a good atmosphere.”
Al-Nassr are second in the league table with 25 points, four adrift of leaders Al-Hilal.