Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off as Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Athletic Bilbao.
Former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo could potentially miss up to four games following his straight red card.
The controversial incident happened moments after Athletic Bilbao’s equaliser in the 73rd minute.
With the game tied at 0-0, Jese Rodriguez continued his fine breakthrough season as he rewarded Carlo Ancelotti’s faith in him by opening the scoring just past the hour mark.
Bilbao however scored a dramatic equaliser eight minutes later through substitute Ibai Gomez - who had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds. The goal lifted the home fans as the atmosphere started to crank up.
From the kick-off, Real Madrid worked the ball to the edge of the area where Karim Benzema attempted to play a one-two with Ronaldo with the ball clearly rebounding off Athletico defender Carlos Gurpegi’s leg.
Portuguese forward Ronaldo raised his hands, pleading for a penalty for handball – a decision which clearly riled Gurpegi as the defender remonstrated with the Ballon d’Or winner. Gurpegi squared up to Ronaldo, and then dramatically fell to the floor clutching his face following an innocuous looking ‘elbow’.
Bilbao’s Ander Iturraspe also got involved as did Angel Di Maria which quickly escalated into a 15-man plus melee. Referee Miguel Ayza showed a yellow card to Iturraspe for aggressive behaviour and a controversial straight red card to Ronaldo – a decision which angered fellow Madrid players.
The game ended 1-1 which didn’t help Real Madrid as they couldn’t take advantage of Barcelona’s shock home loss to Valencia – leaving city rivals Atletico Madrid to lead the table.
Real Madrid will surely appeal the decision and will probably get a favourable decision. However, should the card stand, then the world’s best player could potentially miss Real Madrid’s key clash with Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium – an occasion which could go some way to deciding the La Liga title.
image: © Jan Solo