Real Madrid: Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso Intentionally Booked Against Galatasaray?

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Nothing like a good conspiracy theory to liven up your dreary post-Champions League Thursday.

All in all, Real Madrid had a pretty good night on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal. Cristiano Ronaldo scored again and Real routed Turkish champs Galatasaray 3-0 at the Bernabeu.

(Match highlights, with all three goals, can be viewed here.)

The only bad news came late in the match, when defender Sergio Ramos and midfielder Xabi Alonso picked up yellow cards. Because of the number of yellow cards they have received in the knockout stage, both will have to sit out next week's second leg in Istanbul.

Tough stuff for Jose Mourinho, right? Actually, it might get worse. The Guardian explains:

Real Madrid could face punishment after Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso appeared to deliberately seek yellow cards against Galatasaray in the quarter-final first leg in order to miss the second leg and arrive clear of cards for the semi-final.

According to Uefa regulations, any player who deliberately seeks a booking can be handed a two-game ban and Madrid have been punished before for a similar, if more extreme, episode. On that occasion, against Ajax in 2010, the players involved were also Alonso and Ramos.

Here's the story for that other incident. That time, Mourinho earned a fine of €40,000. If found guilty this time around, such a punishment—or perhaps a greater one, as it would be a repeat offense—might be in store.

In that case, oopsies.

Asked about the bookings in a post-match interview, Mourinho denied that the suspensions would benefit Real in the second leg.

"Not much, because I lost Xabi Alonso and I was thinking about playing Pepe in midfield in Istanbul. And when Sergio got the yellow card, he left me with a problem to resolve."

Mou was a bit too ready with that response, no?

With a three-goal cushion, it might not be too much of a problem. For now, we'll let you decide. Mourinho's interview appears above and serves as our Set Piece Video of the Day for this Thursday. After you watch it, tell us what you think.

Did Ramos and Alonso get themselves booked deliberately? And even if they did, should UEFA intervene? Can they even prove it?

 

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