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Sergio Ramos Banned for 2 Matches by UEFA for Intentional Yellow Card vs. Ajax

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2019

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 13: Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid warms up prior to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Ajax and Real Madrid at Johan Cruyff Arena on February 13, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Sergio Ramos has been banned for two matches after UEFA ruled he deliberately picked up a yellow card during Real Madrid's 2-1 win away to Ajax in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.

B/R Football @brfootball

Classic Sergio Ramos. https://t.co/z1TKmB964e

Ramos will now miss the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday. He will also be unavailable for the first leg of the quarter-final should Los Merengues confirm their place in the last eight.

The former Sevilla defender's case wasn't helped when video footage from GOL emerged of him appearing to ask teammates if he should pursue a booking, per AS.

Despite the enforcement of a ban, Joaquin Maroto of AS believes Ramos is lucky considering his participation in a similar incident almost a decade ago:

"During the 2010-11 season against Ajax, which finished 0-4 to Real Madrid, Xabi Alonso and Ramos both forced yellows. He was fined then with no suspension other than the one for the accumulation of bookings. It was ruled that Mourinho was the one who gave the orders to get booked."

Maroto noted how Real are expected to appeal UEFA's ruling.

Maroto has a point about the leniency of the sentence, especially given how the punishment has been broken down, per Paul Gilmour of Sky Sports:

Paul Gilmour @skysportspaulg

Sergio Ramos suspended for two UEFA matches for ‘clearly receiving a yellow card on purpose’ v Ajax. The two-match suspension includes the automatic one-match suspension for the repeated cautions. More on @SkySportsNews

Handing out what is essentially a one-match ban for a deliberate manipulation of the processes governing the tournament is a weak deterrent for others who may engage in any form of cynical gamesmanship.

Ramos is in hot water this time after the centre-back tripped Ajax's Kasper Dolberg in the penultimate minute of the match, leaving him suspended for the return leg in the Spanish capital. He was charged by European football's governing body on Tuesday, per BBC Sport.

Per Martin Domin of the MirrorRamos had suggested he intentionally set out to get booked: "I would lie if I told you that I did not force the card."

While he subsequently rephrased his comments when talking to Marca, Ramos has not escaped punishment.

Ramos is never too far away from controversy in the Champions League, but Real will miss the decorated defender's experience and aggression.
Ramos is never too far away from controversy in the Champions League, but Real will miss the decorated defender's experience and aggression.VI-Images/Getty Images

The 32-year-old is no stranger to controversy in the Champions League. He caused a stir after a robust challenge on Mohamed Salah forced the Liverpool winger off with a shoulder injury in last season's final.

Despite the negativity that sometimes surrounds him, there's no doubt Ramos is still a key figure for Real. The skipper is the inspirational leader of the team, an uncompromising defender who also poses a major threat in forward areas.

Ramos is deadly attacking set-pieces in the air. The four-time Champions League winner claimed his first trophy after heading in a clutch equaliser to earn extra time against neighbours Atletico Madrid in the 2014 final, a game Real eventually won 4-1.

This season has seen Ramos showcase his scoring touch from the penalty spot. He's been a fan of the Panenka technique from 12 yards, but he received a taste of his own medicine when Luis Suarez used the same action to chip in a penalty as Barcelona won 3-0 in the Spanish capital in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday.

Andy West @andywest01

Luis Suarez massively trolling Sergio Ramos with a Panenka penalty right in front of him at the Bernabeu.

Being hit with a UEFA-imposed suspension completes a dire 24 hours for Ramos. However, his wounded pride will be the least of Real's concerns given how much the team are likely to miss their key defender in the tournament the club values most.

If Real complete the job against Ajax, they will enter a draw likely to feature strong opposition, including possibly Paris Saint-Germain, Barca, Manchester City and either one of Liverpool or Bayern Munich.

Being paired with any of those teams would demand the type of defensive solidity in big games Ramos usually guarantees. Without him, Real's run of three-straight titles in this tournament may come to an abrupt end. 

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