• Premier League

Ronaldo facing three-match ban

ESPN staff
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ESPNFC: Explanation for Ronaldo's red

Cristiano Ronaldo could be banned for three La Liga games after being sent off during Sunday night's 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao.

Ronaldo raised his hands while involved in a confrontation with Athletic's Carlos Gurpegi and Ander Iturraspe late in the second half, as players from both sides bundled in after Madrid's Karim Benzema had a penalty claim turned down.

The Ballon d'Or winner was perhaps unfortunate to be shown a straight red by referee Miguel Angel Ayza Gamez for pushing Gurpegi in the face, but of more concern could be the gesture Ronaldo made to an assistant referee as he was jeered from the field by a jubilant home crowd.

A typical one-game ban would see Ronaldo miss the visit of Villarreal next Saturday, while a three-match punishment would add the upcoming games at Getafe and at home to Elche.

As bans picked up in La Liga action are typically served in that competition, Ronaldo should be free to play in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid at the Bernabeu, and barring a very unlikely four-match punishment he will be back for the Liga derbi at Atletico in first weekend of March.

Madrid will be concerned, however, that the referee's official report did include a gesture from Ronaldo which could be interpreted as suggesting the officials had deliberately singled him out.

"In the 75th minute the player [seven] Dos Santos Aveiro, Cristiano Ronaldo, was sent off for the following reason: hitting an opponent in the face with his hand, while play was stopped," the report said.

"After having been sent off the No. 7 of Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro, while he was leaving the pitch, struck himself various times with the palm of his hand in the face, directing this to the fourth official."

Madrid can appeal the red card - with director Miguel Pardeza telling Canal Plus they would consider their options as they felt Ronaldo was the wronged party in the incident.

"It seemed simply unfair to me, if anyone deserved a red card it was the guy who started it off," Pardeza said.

"Cristiano should have stayed on the pitch. It seems to me that Gurpegi is the first to put his hands on Cristiano's chest, and then tries to trick the referee as he exaggerates. We must have another look at the incident, calmly, and our legal department will decide whether to appeal or not."

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