Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo to pay heavy price for El Clasico tantrum

Conspiracy theory lands Real Madrid star in trouble

Not happy: Ronaldo argues with referee Alberto Undiano during Sunday's El Clasico
Sergio Ramos reacts to being sent off

Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to be fined for comments he made after Sunday night's controversial Clasico win for Barcelona after Spain's main refereeing body decided to make a complaint to the Spanish Football Association.

Ronaldo heavily criticised match official Alberto Undiano and even hinted at an anti-Madrid conspiracy to keep the club's rivals in the league title race. Defender Sergio Ramos, who was shown his 19th red card of his Real Madrid career by Undiano, could also be charged.

Ronaldo said after the 4-3 defeat: "The referee made a lot of mistakes. We needed to have a referee who was up to the level of the match.

"He looked very pale and nervous. I don't want to justify the result but he was poor. There were people who did not want us to win and who did not want Barcelona to be left out of the title race. It upsets some people when Madrid win. People get envious and the treatment is not the same."

A three-man committee will decide what action should be taken. The precedents are for financial punishments as opposed to match bans. Angel Di Maria was fined €1,500 (£1,250) last season for saying: "There are some refereeing errors that are not really errors."

And Pep Guardiola was fined the same amount when he was Barcelona coach, after he suggested referee Carlos Clos Gomez had lied in his report.

Undiano gave three penalties in Barcelona's 4-3 win on Sunday and sent off Ramos, who joined Ronaldo in criticising the match official. "What a coincidence that it is the same protagonist," he said. "I hope Undiano does not referee us again this season."

Speaking about the penalty conceded against Neymar, he added: "He looks for the contact. If they wanted to level things up at the top then they have achieved that.

"There are referees who are up to the job and others who are not. They should pick the referees who have the necessary level."

Barcelona responded to Madrid's complaints, with Xavi saying: "We were superior to them. If there was a penalty that should not have been given then it was the one against Ronaldo."

Madrid still have to face Barcelona at least once more this season in the Spanish Cup final on April 16, but could still meet on two more occasions if they are paired in the Champions League semi-finals.

Yesterday accusing fingers of blame were pointed from both sides, with Madrid upset at images that appeared to show midfielder Sergi Busquets deliberately treading on Pepe's face while the player was on the ground.

Barcelona focused on Pepe's verbal abuse of Cesc Fabregas at half-time.

Madrid face Sevilla tomorrow night after the defeat to Barcelona left them having picked up just one point from a possible 12 against their two rivals at the top of the table.

No one has ever won the league with such a poor record against the teams finishing second and third.

Barcelona also play tomorrow night with a home fixture against Celta.

The game will give Leo Messi the chance to break some more records. He became the top scorer in the history of El Clasico with 21 goals, surpassing Alfredo Di Stefano's haul of 18 on Sunday.

And he is now only 16 goals short of becoming the Spanish League's all-time top scorer, having gone past Hugo Sanchez in second place with just Telmo Zarra ahead of him.

The league record might be hard to break with only nine games left but Messi also needs only five more Champions League goals to overhaul Raul's record of 71 and become the European Cup's highest scorer.

"Messi destroys Madrid" ran one headline yesterday morning as Barcelona celebrated closing the gap on Carlo Ancelotti's team to just one point.

Both sides trail Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid, who are top from Real on head-to-heads and will take the title if they win their remaining games. That will really give Real and Barca something to moan about.

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