The Portuguese sensation, who currently plays for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, found himself in controversies for a heartfelt gesture during a visit to Iran last month.
Cristiano Ronaldo was in Iran to participate in Al-Nassr's Asian Champions League game against Persepolis on September 19. Before the match, the fans greeted him with gifts, including a pair of ultra-realistic drawings created by painter Fatima Hamimi. Fatima has a disability and creates art with her feet. She presented the artwork to Ronaldo.
The 38-year-old footballer embraced the artist and planted a peck on her forehead. The gesture was entirely harmless, but it has created controversy in Iran. Multiple reports suggest that in the country, touching another woman while in a relationship can be considered adultery.
Ronaldo is in a long-term relationship with Georgina Rodriguez. According to several Iranian outlets, Ronaldo has been sentenced to '99 lashes' as punishment for his actions. However, the Iranian govt. denied the claims on Cristiano, and posted a statement on the X handle.
"We strongly deny the issuance of any court ruling against any international athlete in Iran. It is a matter of concern that the publication of such unfounded news could overshadow crimes against humanity and war crimes against the oppressed Palestinian nation.
It should be noted that Cristiano Ronaldo traveled to Iran on September 18 and 19 to play in an official soccer match and was very well received by the people and the authorities. His sincere and humane meeting with Fatemeh Hamami was also praised and admired by both the people and the country's sports authorities," the statement read.