La Liga’s authorities have given Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos a one-game suspension for the tackle on Lionel Messi that earned him a red card in Sunday’s Clasico.
Ramos was shown a straight red by referee Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez after leaping in two-footed at Barcelona star Messi, who jumped out of the way to avoid serious contact.
The official’s match report said the defender used “excessive force” in “knocking over his opponent,” though Madrid appealed and provided written evidence and video footage to say this did not accurately reflect what happened.
But the competition committee of the RFEF, Spanish football’s governing body, has rejected the appeal. The committee said in a judgement that the referee had “unique, exclusive and definitive” competence to apply the rules — and that even the video which Madrid supplied showed that Ramos had thrown himself in a “violent act” at Messi who had taken an “evasive jump” but in effect been knocked over by the challenge.
So the committee handed out the standard one-game suspension for such an offence, along with the standard fine of €600 to the player and €350 to his club. Madrid have 10 days to lodge an appeal of the decision, though they will have to move quickly to avoid Ramos missing Wednesday’s game against Deportivo La Coruna.
The decision comes after the same committee gave Barcelona’s Neymar a three-game ban that saw the Brazilian miss the Clasico.
Neymar’s late challenge on Malaga’s Roberto Rosales on April 8 appeared less severe than Ramos’ and earned him a second yellow card rather than a straight red. But in that case, an extra two games were added because the referee noted the forward “sarcastically applauded” the fourth official as he left the pitch.
Ramos had some angry words on being shown the red card but has said they were aimed at Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, and at no time did he say anything untoward to Hernandez Hernandez. And as the referee’s report did not mention anything extra around the incident, no further punishment was added for the Blancos defender.
Ramos is expected to be replaced at Deportivo by fit-again centre-back Raphael Varane, with manager Zinedine Zidane saying at Tuesday’s pregame news conference that the France international had recovered completely from recent hamstring trouble.
Amid the continuing fallout from Sunday’s game, two-time Madrid coach Fabio Capello told Fox Sports Italia that Ramos’ challenge was “criminal” and part of a concerted effort by Blancos players to hurt Messi every time he visits the Bernabeu.
“You just have to look at the replay,” Capello said. “It is a criminal challenge, and [Ramos] deserved to be sent off. Every time there is a Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Madrid players try and injure Messi. It was a clear red card.”
Ex-Madrid defender Manolo Sanchis took a different view when asked about the incident on radio show El Partidazo, saying that the challenge looked much worse than it really was.
“Sergio Ramos’ challenge is very spectacular, but he does not touch Messi,” Sanchis said. “It is about a yellow. It was a very difficult action to referee.”
Sanchis also said an elbow from Madrid left-back Marcelo early in the game, which knocked Messi to the floor and drew blood from his mouth, had been a “movement of protection” not an aggressive act.
“You would have to ask Marcelo,” the former Spain international said. “His elbow did not seem to me like an aggressive act, it was more a movement of protection.”