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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Kieran King

Cristiano Ronaldo BANNED from making Al-Nassr debut in Saudi Arabia on Thursday

Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned from making his Al-Nassr debut against Al-Ta'ee on Thursday.

The 37-year-old was due to play his first game for his new club at Mrsool Park in the Saudi Pro League, after he was unveiled as an Al-Nassr player earlier in the week. Ronaldo was set to receive a hot reception by supporters of his new team as they prepared to see the five-time Ballon d'Or in action for the first time.

However, he will now not feature for Al-Nassr as he still banned for his behaviour following Manchester United's 1-0 defeat against Everton last April. Ronaldo slapped the hand of Jacob Harding as he stormed down the tunnel at Goodison Park, damaging the boy's phone in the process.

Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled as an Al-Nassr player on Tuesday (Getty Images)

His mother, Sarah Kelly, claimed that Harding's hand was also damaged and hurt by Ronaldo. Following an investigation by the FA, he was fined £50,000 and handed a two-game ban on November 23 - just a day after the forward's contract was terminated by United.

Although Ronaldo is now plying his trade in another country, his ban will still stand and he is expected to sit out Thursday's clash, as per the Daily Mail. Ronaldo's suspension will continue until Al-Nassr have played the two competitive matches that Ronaldo would have been available for following his record-breaking move.

That could push his debut back until the latter portion of the month, with Al-Nassr's next league fixture not taking place until January 14. His new employers will be desperate for him to be available for that one however, with the derby against Al-Shabab pitting the two t

After the incident against Everton he issued an apology on social media for his "outburst" and invited the supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford "as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship".

Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for two matches (Getty Images)

Taking to his Instagram account after the match, Ronaldo said: "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."

Ronaldo's form for United following that incident was patchy at best and the striker was relieved of his duties in November after an explosive interview with Piers Morgan. The former Real Madrid man slammed the club, the Glazers and Erik ten Hag as he claimed he does not "respect" the United boss.

It was the final straw for Ronaldo as he left Old Trafford after scoring 27 goals in 54 matches since re-joining the club from Juventus 15 months ago. There was a lot of speculation surrounding Ronaldo's future but he decided to move into a different continent and leave playing his club football in Europe for the first time in his career.

Cristiano Ronaldo was confirmed as an Al-Nassr player on Tuesday (Getty Images)

After his move to Al-Nassr was confirmed, Dana Ahmed, Amnesty International's Middle East researcher, hit out at the Portuguese for tying himself to the country and it's appalling human rights record.

She said: "Al-Nassr’s signing of Cristiano Ronaldo fits into a wider pattern of sportswashing in Saudi Arabia. It is highly likely that the Saudi authorities will promote Ronaldo’s presence in the country as a means of distracting from the country’s appalling human rights record.

"Instead of offering uncritical praise of Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo should use his considerable public platform to draw attention to human rights issues in the country. Saudi Arabia regularly executes people for crimes including murder, rape and drug smuggling. On a single day last year, 81 people were put to death, many of whom were tried in grossly unfair trials.

"The authorities are also continuing their crackdown on freedom of expression and association, with heavy prison sentences handed down to human rights defenders, women’s rights activists and other political activists.

"Cristiano Ronaldo shouldn’t allow his fame and celebrity status to become a tool of Saudi sportswashing - he should use his time at Al-Nassr to speak out about the myriad human rights issues in the country."

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