Should Real be punished if red cards are deemed deliberate?
It’s one of the most farcical scenes I’ve ever seen in soccer. Real Madrid duo Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos taking ages to take kicks in the 4-0 win at Ajax and getting second yellow cards for timewasting and hence being sent off.
Deliberate? They face automatic one-match suspensions in the final group game against Auxerre, which is a dead match for Real with the Spanish club already assured of first place in Group G and qualification for the last 16.
However, the red cards mean they will have a clean slate when the round of 16 begins, assuming UEFA hand them only the mandatory one-match ban.
Players have got yellow cards on purpose for similar reasons in the past. Real are not commenting but if these two players did it deliberately, they could be in trouble. Was coach Jose Mourinho aware?
If it was done on purpose, surely it is not in the spirit of the game and some would say disrespectful to a famous name like Ajax and a competition Real are meant to hold dear given they are nine-times champions.
On the other hand, at least they did not go round kicking and possibly injuring someone in order to get a second yellow, even if that might have been less obvious.
So what can UEFA do if it rules the second yellows were deliberate? Finding proof is tricky.
Precedent shows UEFA fined Olympique Lyon players Cris and Juninho in 2008 for the offence in the Champions League but the tactic paid off for the two Brazilians who could then compete in the tournament’s first knockout round with their disciplinary record wiped clean.
Raul was involved in a similar episode with a handball goal while playing for Real in 2001. He got off on appeal.
So clever tactic or disgraceful behaviour? UEFA, which has yet to decide on the latest incident, has to give out a strong message.
PHOTO: Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso leaves the pitch after he received a red card during their Champions League Group G soccer match against Ajax Amsterdam in Amsterdam November 23, 2010. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos