The last exultation of Cristiano Ronaldo with the Al-Nassr shirt. The Portuguese champion scored the decisive penalty in the semifinal of Arab Champions League against Al Shorta (finished 1-0), making himself the sign of the cross before taking off for his customary “Siuuuuu”. Too bad, in Saudi Arabia, it is public expression of the Christian faith is forbidden. A gesture triggered automatically by force of habit, on the euphoric momentum of a very heavy goal. Now, however, CR7 risks at least one warning from the club’s top management. Praying or displaying objects and symbols relating to the Christian religion in public is in fact considered a crime punishable even with arrest.
Anyone who does not respect these rules is accused of religious proselytism. A former Al Nassr player, the Colombian, knows something about it Juan Pablo Pinowho was arrested in a mall because of a tattoo of Jesus visible on his sleeveless shirt.
But going back to CR7, the chances that the authorities will give him the same treatment are almost nil. Ronaldo is the most valuable and prolific asset in Saudi football to date, e Al Nassr has sewn a team of champions around him; from Brozovic to Mané, from Fofana to Telles. And in the Arab Champions League final, CR7 will meet other old acquaintances of European football: Koulibaly and Milinkovic-Savic’s Al Hilal is ready to battle for the trophy.