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Cristiano Ronaldo Hopes 'Irritable' Gonzalo Higuain Isn't Punished 'Severely'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2018

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 11:  Gonzalo Higuain (C) of AC Milan shows his anger for receiving the red card during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Juventus at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 11, 2018 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

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:

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| 🤬🤬🤬 | Gonzalo Higuain's head has gone. 🤯 First the referee, then Ronaldo, then Matuidi, and then Chiellini - they all bore the brunt of his outrage. #SerieA https://t.co/NhIx1S2xpG

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:

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| ⛔️ | Ronaldo knows... 👀 #CR7 has a word in Szczesny's ear, and the keeper goes the right way to deny Higuain from the penalty spot! #SerieA live || https://t.co/fPSma92loW https://t.co/uIPgf0ub8t

Per Nagle, Higuain apologised for his actions after the match:

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"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:

Matteo Bonetti @TheCalcioGuy

Feel bad for Higuain. Such a massive occasion for him personally, a missed penalty, a frustrating outing, and then a meltdown.

Mina Rzouki @Minarzouki

It’s really upsetting to watch Higuaín lose it. You can see the frustration and how emotional he has been tonight. He was so wonderful for Juventus and I hope he knows the fans still love him.

Eurosport's Siavoush Fallahi was less forgiving of him:

Siavoush Fallahi @SiavoushF

A player with his experience should know better. A player with his experience should accept he messed the penalty up and be there for the team in the coming came. Not like Higuain did today. Gave up on his teammates and fans

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.

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