Ronaldo lashes out after appeal of 5-match suspension fails

Ronaldo gets a red card drawn on himChampions League title holders Real Madrid will start their domestic season with their best player in the stands after a 5-match suspension issued to Cristiano Ronaldo was upheld on appeal. Ronaldo received the ban for pushing the referee who issued him a red card in the opening leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona.

An unhappy Ronaldo responded to his appeal’s failure with a dramatic Instagram post written in Portuguese, calling the situation “ridiculous,” and characterizing it as “persecution.” He was booked for removing his jersey after he scored in the 80th minute of Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Barcelona in the Super Cup’s first leg, and referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea issued him a second yellow for diving two minutes later. Replays clearly show Ronaldo reacting to being sent off with disbelief before placing his right hand on the referee’s back and pushing as the official turns to walk away.

Ronaldo won his fourth Ballon d’Or in 2016 and is consistently the most dangerous player on a Real Madrid team stacked with offensive talent. He was an unstoppable force on the way to a second consecutive Champions League title at the end of last season, and his absence to start the La Liga season would be a big blow to most teams. But Real Madrid isn’t most teams, and they showed it Wednesday in their 2-0 second-leg victory to win the Super Cup, which included an incredible goal from 33 yards out by 21-year-old Marco Asensio.

Between Asensio, fellow youngster Borja Mayoral, and veterans Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, Real Madrid has more than enough scoring depth to weather Ronaldo’s ban. The bigger concern is likely to be whether or not Ronaldo’s Instagram outburst will lead to more scrutiny and more ejections once he returns. Ronaldo has earned a hot-headed reputation over the years, which probably plays into why he feels persecuted. But his best response in this situation is to get back to doing what he does best once he’s back on the pitch: goals, and lots of them.