Cristiano Ronaldo appears to stop himself from punching referee after seeing red for elbowing rival

Joe Williams
Al-Nassr striker Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo during a Saudi Pro League match.

Al-Nassr striker Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to stop himself from punching the referee after being sent off for elbowing an opponent on Monday evening.

The former Man Utd superstar had his evening on the pitch cut short when the referee adjudged that he elbowed an opposition during a Saudi Super Cup match against Al-Hilal.

An attempted quick throw-in ends badly for Cristiano Ronaldo

With his Al-Nassr losing 2-0 to goals from Salem Aldawsari and Malcolm, Ronaldo tried to pick the ball up quickly to take a throw in with Al-Hilal’s Ali Al-Bulaihi attempting to stop the quick throw.

Clearly enraged, Ronaldo then shoved and appeared to elbow Al-Bulaihi in the face with the referee wasting little time in giving the Man Utd and Real Madrid legend a red card.

But things could have got worse with Ronaldo then appearing to raise his fist towards the referee after the decision but chose to control his aggression.

Al-Nassr head coach Luis Castro stuck up for Ronaldo and was furious at the decision to send the Portugal international off.

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Castro told reporters: “It is difficult to talk about the incident in which Ronaldo received the red card, and we saw several clips earlier in the season in which Ronaldo was provoked, and after seeing some of the pictures Ronaldo did not do anything that deserved to be sent off, and the opposing player acted.”

He added: “The contact was small between Cristiano and the opponent’s defender. He made a play. The video referee was supposed to call the match referee to watch the clip of the expulsion.”

Al-Hilal boss Jorge Jesus felt Ronaldo’s bad reaction is because he’s “not accustomed to losing” after winning multiple trophies and honours during his career.

“Ronaldo is one of the most important players in the world and is a role model for many, but in his career he is not accustomed to losing, so it is natural for him to lose his temper when he loses, as well as to lose emotional and mental focus in matches in which he loses.”

Barcelona legend Lionel Messi was his rival for years during their time together in La Liga and there has always been debate over who is better.

Sam Allardyce: Messi vs Ronaldo was an amazing time for football

And former England boss Sam Allardyce has offered his thoughts on the Ronaldo-Messi debate, he told William Hill: “We had the best time of it watching Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo competing against each other year in, year out, in Spain for ten years or so on the trot.

“They were both hitting 30, 40 goals a season each season, with neither of them playing as a centre forward. Ronaldo might’ve ended up there in the later years but he’s always played wide, and Messi just played anywhere he wanted!

“The Ballon d’Or every year was just a case of wondering which one of those two it was going to be that year! It was an amazing time to just watch two world class players at the same time.

“I heard a statistic about how many goals Erling Haaland would have to score to catch Ronaldo’s tally, it was something like 50 goals a year! I remember when I first saw Ronaldo when he came on as a sub against Bolton when he’d just been bought from Portugal – he just destroyed Nicky Hunt in defence! I was standing there in the dugout thinking, ‘wow’.”