Cristiano Ronaldo hit with five-match ban for red card, pushing referee
Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for five matches after pushing referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea during Real Madrid's 3-1 Spanish Super Cup first-leg win at Barcelona on Sunday.
Ronaldo's 24 minutes as a substitute at the Camp Nou saw him score a superb goal, pick up a booking for removing his shirt during the celebration, and then quickly receive a second yellow after De Burgos Bengoetxea ruled the Portugal captain had dived to try to win a penalty.
Ronaldo reacted to being sent off by pushing De Burgos Bengoetxea. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) banned Ronaldo for one match for drawing the red card and the other four for pushing the official.
That was just one major talking point on a night that also saw Gerard Pique's own goal put Madrid ahead, Lionel Messi equalise with a controversial penalty won by Luis Suarez and Marco Asensio score a screamer to put his side fully in control ahead of Wednesday's second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ronaldo has also been fined €3,805 for his actions, while Madrid were fined €1,750.
Ronaldo is set to miss the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona as well as Madrid's four opening La Liga games against Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad.
His next domestic appearance will come at home to Real Betis in La Liga in the midweek round of fixtures of Sept. 20, although he will be eligible to play in Real Madrid's Champions League group stage opener a week before and the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy friendly against Fiorentina on Aug. 23.
The RFEF says Madrid have 10 days to lodge an appeal with its appeals committee, while adding in its report that the club attempted to get the offence downgraded from a push to a minor "disregard" for the referee.
The official match report sent to the RFEF from the Camp Nou included Ronaldo's push in the "other incidents" section.
"Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro -- having been shown the red card, the player pushed me slightly in a sign of his disagreement," the Basque official wrote.
The RFEF's disciplinary code appears clear that the punishment for such behaviour, even if only "slightly violent," is an extra suspension of four to 12 games.
"Pulling, pushing or shaking, or a general attitude towards the match officials which, even if only slightly violent, without confirming an aggressive attitude on their part, will be punished with a suspension of four to 12 games," says the code's article 96.
At the postmatch news conference, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said the second yellow was "a bit too much" and hoped Ronaldo could still be cleared to play in Wednesday's second leg.
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos told Telecinco after the final whistle that he believed Ronaldo had not dived, and therefore the club would be able to appeal the decision.
"I was far away," Ramos said. "But I believe Cristiano lost his balance and did not fake anything. We can appeal, as it leaves us without a very important player, with 10 minutes left. [The referee] should have thought about it a bit more."
Ramos also said that De Burgos Bengoetxea had erred in earlier awarding a penalty when Suarez fell to the ground dramatically, having been challenged inside the box by Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.
"There is a lot of tension in these type of games," he said. "For me it was not a penalty. I don't believe the referee blew the whistle if he did not see anything; he must have seen it clearly. But for me there was nothing."
Madrid left-back Marcelo told the club's official website that the red card was "bizarre" while acknowledging that referees make mistakes.
"Cristiano being sent off was bizarre, but sometimes that can happen," the Brazil international said. "Referees can make mistakes, along with the things they get right."
Ex-Madrid full-back Alvaro Arbeloa, now popular among fans and pundits for his regular defence of his former club, tweeted after Ronaldo's sending off: "They are laughing in our face. Lamentable."
Se ríen en nuestra cara. Lamentable. ✋?ﾟﾤﾚ?ﾟﾔﾫ- Álvaro Arbeloa (@aarbeloa17) August 13, 2017
"Not even with 12!" Arbeloa added on the final whistle, in reference to Madrid still managing to come out on top.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan