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- Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off in the 29th minute of his first Champions League match with Juventus on an absurdly soft call.
- It was Ronaldo’s first red card in 154 career Champions League matches.
- Ronaldo will be suspended for Juve’s next Champions League match, and could potentially miss more time – possibly spoiling his highly anticipated return to Old Trafford set for October.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League debut with Juventus did not go as planned.
Just 29 minutes into Juventus’ group stage match against Valencia, Ronaldo was sent off with a red card after a brief altercation with a defender. Jeison Murillo had gone down in the box after some contact with Ronaldo, and the superstar striker encouraged him to get up with a tap on the head in frustration.
Valencia’s defense immediately reacted, and Ronaldo was eventually given a red card for his infraction. Given how early it was in the match and how minimal the contact was between Ronaldo and his defender, it’s hard to argue that the punishment matched the crime.
The match commentators were in disbelief with the call, repeatedly saying, “There is nothing in that!” while watching the replay.
Ronaldo, understandably, was furious. It was his first red card in 154 Champions League matches.
— Sam Baig (@USA_Baig) September 19, 2018
Luckily, Juventus was still able to pull out the win, quickly taking a 2-0 lead despite being down to ten men.
The more significant concern though has yet to be decided. According to UEFA rules, a player that is sent off the pitch is required to serve at least a one-game suspension, which can be extended depending on the seriousness of the offense.
If Ronaldo’s suspension is capped at one game, things should be fine – Juventus can likely handle its match against BSC Young Boys without the superstar forward.
But should Ronaldo be suspended a second game, it would spoil his highly anticipated return to Old Trafford to face off against his old club, Manchester United.
After seeing Ronaldo’s infraction, it’s tough to believe that he’d be suspended for two matches. That said, it was also tough to believe that he was awarded a red card in the first place.