The Portuguese could be set for a long suspension after shoving the referee, while the Catalans clearly missed their recently departed Brazilian
Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero and also the villain. The Portuguese forward started the Spanish Supercopa Clasico on the bench, but he will dominate the headlines following his great goal, a ridiculous red card and then a petulant push on the referee that should see him handed a lengthy ban.
This was the first Barcelona match of the season, the first under Ernesto Valverde and the first since the departure of Neymar. Over in France, the Brazilian was making his debut for Paris Saint-Germain against Guingamp and impressed with a goal and an assist.
The manner of Neymar’s departure means he is not a popular player at Camp Nou now, but Ronaldo remains much more disliked by Barca’s supporters and, left out of the starting line-up, he was greeted with loud boos when he started to warm up early in the second half.
Those became almost deafening when he finally made his entrance for Karim Benzema after 58 minutes. By that point, Madrid were a goal up after Gerard Pique scored past his own goalkeeper, but Lionel Messi later levelled with a controversial penalty after Luis Suarez initiated contact with Keylor Navas.
It looked like a dive from the Uruguayan and Madrid’s defenders were furious, but it was perhaps somewhat clumsy from Navas as well with the ball heading out of touch. In any case, there was much more drama to come.
Ronaldo silenced Barca’s fans with a superb strike which nestled in the top corner, before taking his shirt off and holding it up to the crowd as Messi had done at the Santiago Bernabeu back in April. That brought a booking and just two minutes later, he was sent off after the referee adjudged he had dived in the area in an attempt to win a penalty,
The decision was definitely harsh, but Ronaldo’s reaction was unforgiveable. The Portuguese pushed the official in the back before walking off and the incident will definitely feature in the referee’s report following the match.
Unfair or not, it is simply unacceptable to push the referee and the Portuguese could now be in for a lengthy ban. By way of comparison, Italian forward Paolo Di Canio received an 11-match suspension for pushing the referee in action for Sheffield Wednesday in a Premier League game back in 1998.
Ronaldo is unlikely to be given such a long ban. However, his actions were inappropriate and unacceptable from a professional player of his standing.
Madrid went on to win 3-1 after Marco Asensio hit a stunner late on and the result raises serious doubts over Barcelona this season, especially with Neymar now departed, no replacement brought in, Andres Iniesta unable to last for 90 minutes and new signing Paulinho unlikely to transform the team’s fortunes.
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For Real, Ronaldo’s push marred what was a great win and he now he has to wait to hear about his ban, although he is certain to miss Wednesday’s second leg. In the meantime, it already looks like it could be a long season for Barcelona.