Cristiano Ronaldo has clarified that a hand gesture he aimed at Atletico Madrid supporters during Juventus’s 2-2 draw with the Liga side was not intended to offend them.
The Portuguese was caught on camera making a hand signal after missing a late chance in the Champions League opener as he arrowed a shot just wide of Jan Oblak’s far post.
Turning towards the crowd, Ronaldo appeared to mock Atleti supporters with a gesture that, in Italian, means to be afraid or scared – which could be construed as being a reference to his impressive scoring record against Diego Simeone’s side.
But speaking afterwards in the mixed zone, the former Manchester United star replied “learn, you have to learn” to a reporter who quizzed him on the meaning behind his gesture.
It proved to be a frustrating night for Ronaldo and his team-mates, who appeared to be on course for all three points having raced into a two-goal lead.
Juan Cuadrado cut in from the right to smash an effort into the top corner to put Maurizio Sarri’s side in front, before Blaise Matuidi headed home Alex Sandro’s pinpoint cross to add a second on the hour mark.
But Atleti battled back as Stefan Savic scored to halve the deficit, and summer signing Hector Herrera nodded home in stoppage time to deny the visitors and ensure both sides would take a point.
El gesto de Cristiano Ronaldo a la afición del Atlético tras casi marcarles en el último minuto pic.twitter.com/3wStpj0YqT
— Amantes Del Fut (@Amantesdelfut_) September 18, 2019
Despite not finding the net against the Spanish side on this occasion, Ronaldo has an impressive record against Real Madrid’s rivals.
He scored an incredible hat-trick in last season’s Champions League last-16 second leg to haul Juve through to the quarter-finals, while he also struck a treble against Simeone’s men in the semi-final of the same competition in 2016-17.
The 34-year-old also has two final wins over Atleti in Europe’s premier competition – including the winning spot-kick in 2016 – with him having scored 25 goals in all competitions against Los Rojiblancos in total.
His actions in last season’s dramatic 3-2 aggregate win in the Champions League caused controversy, meanwhile, as Ronaldo appeared to mimic Simeone’s ‘cojones’ celebration as he celebrated at full-time.
📻⚽🚨 @Cristiano explica su gesto: "Aprende, tenéis que aprender"
— El Larguero (@ellarguero) September 18, 2019
At the time, the Argentine played down the incident and denied suggestions that he and his side were being mocked by the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
He said: “I’m sure Cristiano made the gesture with the same intention I did, with his people.”
The latest gesture will likely not have gone down well with the Liga side’s fanbase, although Ronaldo’s explanation after the game suggests he wasn’t attempting to mock his opponents.