Cristiano Ronaldo banned for 5 games after pushing referee
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo lost his cool, and now Real Madrid has lost its main man for five matches at the start of the Spanish season.
Ronaldo was banned for five games on Monday after shoving a referee who sent him off for diving in Madrid's 3-1 win over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup.
Ronaldo was suspended for one game for the red card in Sunday's Super Cup first leg at Barcelona, and four games for pushing referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea in the back, the Spanish football federation said.
Ronaldo will miss Wednesday's return leg of the Super Cup in Madrid plus the first four matches of Real Madrid's league title defense. Zinedine Zidane's Madrid opens the league on Sunday at Deportivo La Coruna. Its next three matches after that are against Valencia, promoted Levante, and at Real Sociedad.
Ronaldo and Madrid have 10 days to appeal the federation's ruling.
Still regaining peak fitness after an extended summer vacation, Ronaldo began the Super Cup match on the bench, and came on in the 58th minute.
He scored with a long-range strike to put Madrid 2-1 up in the 80th minute, moments after Lionel Messi had equalized for Barcelona from the penalty spot.
But Ronaldo's goal celebration — when he took his shirt off and flexed his muscles — earned him a yellow card.
Two minutes later, he charged into the area and collided with Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti. Ronaldo went down hoping for a penalty. Instead, referee De Burgos showed him a second yellow for diving and sent him off.
Ronaldo raised his arms in disbelief, then stepped up to De Burgos and shoved him in the back with his right hand.
The federation ruling said that Ronaldo's shove violated article 96 of its disciplinary code, which states that "light aggressions" defined as "pulling, pushing and shaking" of a referee are punished by suspensions of between 4-12 matches.
The federation also fined Ronaldo 3,005 euros ($3,500) and Madrid 1,400 euros ($1,650) for the shove, and another 600 euros ($705) for the player and 350 euros ($412) for the club for simulating a foul.
Last season, Las Palmas forward Marko Livaja was given an additional four-match suspension for pushing a referee after he was shown a red card.
In the 2014 Spanish Super Cup, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone was handed an eight-match suspension after he tapped the back of a linesman's head. Simeone was suspended for four games for the tapping, two games for protesting, one game for ironically applauding the referee, and one game for remaining in the stands instead of leaving the stadium after his sending-off.
Simeone served four matches of his league suspension and the other four are pending Atletico's future Spanish Super Cup matches.
After guiding Madrid to the Champions League and Spanish league titles last season, the suspension comes during a difficult summer for Ronaldo.
In June, a state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of defrauding Spain's tax office of 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million). The 32-year-old star had to deny the accusations in person to an investigative judge last month.
Now he must trust his teammates to make a good start to Madrid's defense without him. Given Marco Asensio's great goal from distance to cap Sunday's win over Barcelona, the 21-year-old forward could take Ronaldo's place in the starting lineup.