Cristiano Ronaldo, the renowned Portuguese footballer, could be at risk of facing a sentence of ’99 lashes for adultery’ the next time he visits Iran, according to reports emerging from the country.
The controversy stems from a photograph taken during Ronaldo’s visit to Tehran, Iran’s capital, in September when he was with Al-Nassr to compete against Persepolis in the Asian Champions League group stage.
During his visit, Ronaldo had an encounter with Iranian painter Fatima Hamimi, who had crafted a picture especially for him. In a heartwarming gesture, Ronaldo kissed her on the cheek, gave her a signed shirt, and posed for a photo where he embraced her. However, this act has triggered the ire of Iranian lawyers because, in Iranian law, touching a married woman is considered equivalent to adultery.
Adultery Allegations and Potential Consequences
According to reports, Iranian media have reported that numerous lawyers in the country have filed a complaint against Ronaldo concerning the photograph. They argue that the football star’s actions have violated Iranian law, and he could face severe consequences, including 99 lashes, if he returns to Iran in the future.
Although Al-Nassr is currently competing in the Asian Champions League’s group stage, with matches that do not require Ronaldo to visit Iran, the possibility remains that he may have to set foot on Iranian soil if his team progresses to the knockout rounds.
In response to the allegations, it has been noted that a judge in Iran could choose to forgive Ronaldo’s sentence if it is deemed that ‘the acts are not punishable or if Ronaldo shows remorse.’
It’s important to mention that Ronaldo has been in a committed relationship with Spanish model Georgina Rodriguez since 2016, and the couple shares two children. His relationship and family life have garnered considerable media attention and support throughout his career.
Ronaldo is presently with the Portugal national team in preparation for upcoming Euro qualifiers against Slovakia and Bosnia, but the looming legal issue in Iran adds another layer of complexity to his life, amidst an ongoing legal battle with his Las Vegas rape accuser.
The footballer, who recently became the world’s highest-paid player following his £177 million per year deal with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr in January, has consistently denied the rape allegations and faces an array of legal challenges beyond the football field.