Cristiano Ronaldo said he feels “persecuted” in an explosive rant on Instagram after his five-match ban was upheld by Spanish football authorities.
The Real Madrid star was hit with the suspension and a fine following his sending off in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Barcelona in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup.
Ronaldo was booked for removing his shirt while celebrating his goal and, minutes later, received another yellow card for an alleged dive in Barça’s area.
His sending off was worthy of a one-match ban and another four were tacked on when the 32-year-old pushed referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea.
"Once the red card was shown, the player pushed me slightly in a sign of disagreement," Bengoetxea wrote in his match report.
Watch: Ronaldo pushes the ref
Los Blancos were unsuccessful in their attempt to have Ronaldo’s ban overturned and the forward’s Instagram post sums up his frustration.
He wrote: “Impossible to stay immune in this situation, 5 games! It seems to me exaggerated and ridiculous, this is persecution! Thanks to my colleagues for the support and the fans!!!”
Getting Ronaldo’s ban reduced was always going to be a long shot. Article 96 of the Spanish rulebook recommends a four to 12 game ban to any players who “grab, push or shake” a referee in a “slightly violent manner”.
Yet Real tried. And they were willing to go to laughable lengths to have their star man back earlier.
Real's ridiculous excuse
According to Dermot Corrigan of ESPN, Los Blancos claimed at the appeal hearing that Ronaldo’s push on Bengoetxea was actually an “uncontrollable reflex”, and not an intentional shove.
That’s some excuse.
Of course, the appeals committee rejected Real’s ridiculous claim, and Ronaldo will miss the next five matches.
That includes this evening’s return match in Madrid and league matches against Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad.
It's not all bad news
As important to Zinedine Zidane’s side as Ronaldo is, it’s really not the worst piece of news.
Ronaldo will be fresh when Real Betis visit the Bernabeu next month and his absence will allow wonderkid Marco Asensio, who scored the third goal against Barcelona on Sunday, to receive more minutes.
That said, Zidane will be disappointed not to have him available tonight. His team are in a great position to add another piece of silverware but any side that features Lionel Messi in it is capable of the unthinkable.
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