MADRID, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Cristiano Ronaldo faces a suspension of between one and three matches after being sent off in the second half of his side' s 1-1 draw away to Athletic Club Bilbao on Sunday night.
Ronaldo was sent off 15 minutes from time after a fracas with Athletic players, Carlos Gurpegui and Ander Iturraspe and although he was provoked by a slight push in the chest from Gurpegui, there is no doubt that the Madrid striker responded by dragging his hand along the side of Gurpegui' s face.
The defender made a meal of the incident and Ronaldo then went head to head with Iturraspe, appearing to give the midfielder a slight headbutt in the process.
After taking his time to make a decision referee Ayza Gamez then showed Ronaldo a straight red card, justifying his decision by saying the striker had: "struck a rival with his hand with the game not in progress."
The decision upset Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, who after the game commented that Ronaldo' s action had "not been aggression and wasn' t that bad," while Madrid' s Director of Sport, Miguel Pardeza said, "I think the red card was disproportionate and I think it is unfair."
However, Ronaldo' s problems don' t end with the sending off, given that the referee also took note of his reaction once he had seen the red card.
"He hit his face with his hand several times while directing the gesture to the fourth official" , he wrote in his official post match report. That is a well known gesture in Spain meanwhile something along the lines of 'you have got a nerve' and could result in the suspension being increased from the one game ban Ronaldo could usually have expected for being sent off."
There have been precedents for this in Spain and earlier this season Athletic striker Aritz Aduriz was suspended for two games for telling a referee his sending off had been "a disgrace," despite the Spanish Football Federation actually letting him off the original red card.
The good news for Madrid is that as Ronaldo will be available to play in Wednesday' s Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg at home to local rivals Atletico Madrid. The fact that the reason for the sending off does not in itself merit a suspension of more than 3 games means the suspension will be served in the BBVA Primera Liga and not in the Cup.
However, if the RFEF do decide to ban him for more than 3 games, which seems unlikely, Ronaldo would miss both semi-final ties as well as the league matches.