The Competition Committee of the Royal Spanish Football Federation is investigating reports that Cristiano Ronaldo verbally abused an official during heated exchanges in El Clasico.
Real Madrid’s frustrating afternoon was confirmed with a disappointing 2-1 loss to rivals Barcelona, but it’s Ronaldo’s alleged foul-mouthed tirade and Los Blancos’ sense of injustice that is grabbing headlines across the footballing world.
As reported by ESPN, the diligent work of Spanish television reportedly unearthed the moment Ronaldo succumbed to irritation:
Spanish TV station Cuatro's heavily-worked lip-readers reckoned Ronaldo insulted an official by calling him a "piece of s**t", with Sergio Busquets responding by calling his opponent a "crybaby".
Expanding upon the story, Inside Spanish Football claims the RFEF—La Liga’s governing body—is set to punish Ronaldo for complaining about referee Undiano Mallenco’s decision not to give a penalty when the score was at 1-0:
Videos later captured the player angrily directing abuse towards the match official, shouting “it was a penalty” after a play where he believed he’d been fouled inside the area by Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano, then calling Undiano Mallenco a "cagón" (chicken shit) whilst pointing towards the penalty area.
Mallenco provided Ronaldo with a caution in the 80th minute, as reported by WhoScored, moments after Alexis Sanchez confirmed victory with an audacious chip from outside Diego Lopez’s area.
Ronaldo was incensed that a penalty was not awarded for Mascherano's foul, right before Barcelona swept up the other end to kill the game off.
Despite naming Gareth Bale in his starting lineup, Carlo Ancelotti’s team lacked cutting edge during the Camp Nou clash. Both Ronaldo and the Welshman were outshone by Neymar, who calmly slotted Barcelona ahead before the 20-minute mark.
Ronaldo failed to assert his dominance throughout the match and struggled to gain any momentum against Gerardo Martino’s well-organised side.
Despite eventually providing an assist for Jese Rodriguez’s last-minute consolation, the Portuguese superstar managed just one shot on Victor Valdes’ goal, as tweeted by WhoScored:
Cristiano Ronaldo: Had 1 shot against Barcelona tonight; it is only the second time in 137 La Liga games started that @Cristiano had 1 shot— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 26, 2013
If punishment is to be deemed necessary by the RFEF, previous instances suggest the 28-year-old could receive a ban between one to three games and a monetary fine, per Inside Spanish Football’s report.
As confirmed in ESPN's report, the away side's slew of five yellow cards has drummed up criticism from Spanish papers, such as the Madrid-favouring AS:
Multi-page coverage of the refereeing in AS included the statistic that Madrid players were shown five yellow cards in the game, while Barca only received two, even though the Catalan side committed more fouls.
Does Cristiano Ronaldo deserve to be punished for his reported misconduct during El Clasico?
Madrid's chances of regaining the Spanish title will be significantly lower if Ronaldo is to spend time on the sidelines.
Ancelotti's expensive squad currently trail Barcelona by six points and are five shy of catching city rivals Atletico Madrid in second.
Considering the Catalan leaders only lost twice on their way to a title-winning haul of 100 points last season, the Bernabeu faithful have no room to make further mistakes.