Cristiano Ronaldo Red Card: How Real Madrid Will Cope in Star's Absence

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 2, 2014

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Real Madrid superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo was assessed a red card in his club's 1-1 draw against La Liga rival Athletic Bilbao on Feb. 2.

Updates from Wednesday, Feb. 5

AS reports Ronaldo has received a three-match ban and explains the reasoning for each match he will be miss:

ESPN FC previously reported Ronaldo was still available to play in the Spanish Copa del Rey semifinals clash on Feb. 5:

Yahoo! Sports' Eurosport Staff (via Marca) previously reported the referee that assessed Ronaldo the red card may be changing his reasoning:

Referee Miguel Ayza Gamez has been accused of changing his reason for why he sent off Cristiano Ronaldo on Sunday.

Marca reports that Gamez has told the Football Federation he sent off the Real Madrid forward for the incident with Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Iturraspe and not the preceding tangle with Carlos Gurpegi.

Gamez is said to have initially told his fellow officials that Ronaldowas sent off for raising his hand to Gurpegi but has since changed his story.


Original Text's official Twitter account reported on the news as the 28-year-old was sent off the pitch after a slight shove to the face of Lions captain Carlos Gurpegui at around the 75-minute mark:

Below is a GIF of the incident, courtesy of Bleacher Report UK:

Credit: Bleacher Report UK (via @emenderk on Twitter)

Defensive midfielder Ander Iturraspe was also involved in the Ronaldo confrontation and seemed to team with Gurpegui to provoke him.

It looks as though Gurpegui in particular did a bit of an acting job in falling to the ground, which is unfortunate considering the caliber of scorer Ronaldo is and how much his absence impacts the game.

Football expert Guillem Balague believes the club will appeal the red card:

Despite how bad of a break the red card is, manager Carlo Ancelotti's side is going to have to figure out a way to compensate for the Portuguese international's absence. The red card means Ronaldo will be out of action for next weekend's match with Villarreal, unless it's rescinded.

Although Sunday's match was a battle between the third- and fourth-place clubs in the league standings, Real held an 11-point advantage over the hosts entering this clash at San Mames. Thus, Ancelotti has enough talent at his disposal and a cushion in the standings to compensate for the void in the short term.

Ronaldo helped set up the first goal of the match by Jese Rodriguez to put Real on top, 1-0, but the equalizer came approximately two minutes before he was ejected, leaving his club down to 10 men for the rest of the match.

It was a gritty effort just to salvage a draw on the road, so Real look to be capable of handling adversity without such a big name in the lineup.

This was not one of his prouder moments and will inevitably fuel his detractors' fire, but Ronaldo shouldn't cost his team too dearly with an infraction that didn't appear to warrant such a severe penalty.