Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has expressed his hope that AC Milan counterpart and former team-mate Gonzalo Higuain will not be punished "severely" after he reacted angrily to being sent off on Sunday.
Two quick yellow cards saw Higuain receive his marching orders as Juventus beat Milan 2-0 at the San Siro, and he shoved Ronaldo amid his protests against the decision:
Ronaldo was quick to forgive Higuain, though. He told Sky Sport Italia (h/t MailOnline's Ben Nagle): "I told him to calm down, as he risked an even heavier ban. He didn't do much, he was irritable at losing the game. That's understandable, and I hope he is not punished too severely."
It was a night to forget for the 30-year-old, who had earlier seen a penalty saved by Wojciech Szczesny after Ronaldo had given the goalkeeper some advice:
Per Nagle, Higuain apologised for his actions after the match:
"First of all, I want to apologise to the team, the coach, the supporters and the referee for my reaction
"I take responsibility for what happened. Obviously, I hope that it doesn't happen again. It was one of those moments—we were losing, I missed a penalty and we aren't robots but people. But I don't want to try and justify my actions."
Higuain scored 55 goals in 105 matches for Juventus, but he was loaned to the Rossoneri in the summer shortly after Ronaldo's arrival in Turin. The pair spent four productive years together at Real Madrid from 2009 to 2013, though.
The Argentinian was happy Juve's players attempted to calm him down: "I had a great rapport with them, it was pleasing that they came and tried to hold me back. They know that players have emotions and this game went wrong, above all for me, and I can only apologise."
ESPN's Matteo Bonetti and football writer Mina Rzouki sympathised with the striker:
Eurosport's Siavoush Fallahi was less forgiving of him:
His suspension has come at a difficult time for Milan, who are without Lucas Biglia, Mattia Caldara, Ivan Strinic, Mateo Musacchio and Giacomo Bonaventura through injury, while Andrea Conti is suspended per Transfermarkt.
The Rossoneri will have to cope without Higuain for their tricky trip to Lazio after the international break, and perhaps beyond if he is hit with an extended ban.
Their only other recognised centre-forward option is 20-year-old Patrick Cutrone. The Italian has scored five times this season but only two have come in Serie A, so there will be a lot of pressure on the youngster's shoulders to deliver in Higuain's absence.