Cristiano Ronaldo leaves pitch after red card in Champions League opener

Cristiano Ronaldo could miss both Champions League matches against Manchester United after being sent off on his debut in the competition for Juventus.    

The 33-year-old was dismissed during the first half of Wednesday night’s Group H opener in Valencia following an off-the-ball clash with Jeison Murillo and had to be led away from the field in tears.

Ronaldo now faces an expected two-match ban for violent conduct, which would rule him out of the home game against Young Boys and the trip to Old Trafford on October 23. A three-game suspension – UEFA will determine the length of the ban – would also keep him out of the return against United in Turin on November 7. 

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Cristiano Ronaldo is distraught as he is shown a straight red card on his Champions League debut for Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo is distraught as he is shown a straight red card on his Champions League debut for Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo is distraught as he is shown a straight red card on his Champions League debut for Juventus

The Portuguese became entangled with Jeison Murillo on the edge of the Valencia penalty box as the visitors attacked

The Portuguese became entangled with Jeison Murillo on the edge of the Valencia penalty box as the visitors attacked

The Portuguese became entangled with Jeison Murillo on the edge of the Valencia penalty box as the visitors attacked

As Murillo tumbled to the floor, Ronaldo then appeared to grab the Valencia man by the hair to get him back to his feet

As Murillo tumbled to the floor, Ronaldo then appeared to grab the Valencia man by the hair to get him back to his feet

As Murillo tumbled to the floor, Ronaldo then appeared to grab the Valencia man by the hair to get him back to his feet

Reacting to this, Murillo then rose quickly to his feet and confronted Ronaldo before a fracas broke out in the box

Reacting to this, Murillo then rose quickly to his feet and confronted Ronaldo before a fracas broke out in the box

Reacting to this, Murillo then rose quickly to his feet and confronted Ronaldo before a fracas broke out in the box

Felix Brych, refereeing the match, was quick to pull out his red card and dismiss Ronaldo from the field after the incident

Felix Brych, refereeing the match, was quick to pull out his red card and dismiss Ronaldo from the field after the incident

Felix Brych, refereeing the match, was quick to pull out his red card and dismiss Ronaldo from the field after the incident

Ronaldo flicked his boot at Murillo as they tangled entering the penalty area in the 29th minute and the defender fell to the floor. The Portugal forward then appeared to pull Murillo’s hair in an attempt to lift him off the ground and the Valencia players immediately protested to the fifth official behind the goal.

Referee Felix Brych consulted with his colleague before producing the red card for Ronaldo, who reacted by collapsing to the turf in disbelief and had to be consoled by staff as he made his way down the tunnel.

Juventus coach Max Allegri said: ‘VAR would have avoided what happened, it would have brought the right decision. We hope the suspension will be limited.’ 

Ronaldo has cried before in the Champions League, usually after winning one of the four trophies he has lifted in the past five seasons with Real Madrid.

To a chorus of whistles and insults on his first return to Spain, he had strutted into the Mestalla before the game with the confidence of the best and most-decorated player in the tournament’s history.

But he was robbed of his splendour and stripped of his swagger following his first dismissal in what was his 154th Champions League match, a perceived injustice the source of his tears as opposed to joy.

Ronaldo collapsed to the floor in despair after the red card was brandished at the Mestalla, throwing his arms in the air

Ronaldo collapsed to the floor in despair after the red card was brandished at the Mestalla, throwing his arms in the air

Ronaldo collapsed to the floor in despair after the red card was brandished at the Mestalla, throwing his arms in the air

Ronaldo and his team-mates remonstrated with the referee following the decision, which courted controversy

Ronaldo and his team-mates remonstrated with the referee following the decision, which courted controversy

Ronaldo and his team-mates remonstrated with the referee following the decision, which courted controversy

The Juventus superstar wept as he left the field at Mestalla Stadium following his dismissal as his manager watched on

The home crowd had jeered his every touch but his team-mates silenced the masses as they emerged with a 2-0 victory thanks to Miralem Pjanic penalties either side of half-time.

Even without Ronaldo the visitors were comfortable, forced to rely on good old Catenaccio rather than their Galactico. Captain Giorgio Chiellini was again a colossus at the back and and Wojciech Szczesny saved a stoppage-time penalty from Daniel Parejo.

This performance certainly bodes well for their tilt at a first Champions League crown since 1996 and that is why Ronaldo is here, for Allegri has made no secret of this being their priority. He can only hope his star player is crying for the right reasons come May.

The striker had never before been dismissed in the Champions League, and was comforted by Valencia boss Marcelino

The striker had never before been dismissed in the Champions League, and was comforted by Valencia boss Marcelino

The striker had never before been dismissed in the Champions League, and was comforted by Valencia boss Marcelino

MARK CLATTENBURG’S VERDICT ON RONALDO 

Cristiano Ronaldo was very unfortunate to be sent off on his Champions League debut for Juventus.

With the ball on the left wing, the forward tried to make a run into the penalty area and was blocked off by Jeison Murillo.

There was a small push from Ronaldo which resulted in the Valencia defender falling to the floor but that was not violent conduct.

The referee had his back to the incident. It was spotted by the additional assistant, standing behind the goal, who may have thought Ronaldo threw an elbow but that was not the case.

Ronaldo was then clearly annoyed by Murillo’s play-acting and placed a hand on the defender’s head.

The contact looked very slight and I cannot see how the additional assistant, standing some 20 yards away, could deem it violent conduct.

If I had been officiating this game, I would have given Valencia a free-kick and shown a yellow card to each player. Ronaldo will serve a one-match ban but anything more would be harsh.

Ronaldo’s dismissal was greeted with contrasting views by former Manchester United stars Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes.

Ferdinand felt the footage was not clear and there were grounds for Juventus to appeal the initial decision. 

Ferdinand said: ‘It’s inconclusive I think, I’m sure Cristiano and Juventus will appeal that. The emotion you see here after the decision is clear, it means he’ll miss Old Trafford as well. Cristiano can be temperamental, he could bite at things some times in the dressing room.’

However, Scholes felt the Juventus forward deserved the red card.

Scholes said: ‘It’s a tough one to appeal. It looks like he has a couple of nibbles, a kick there, raises his left elbow. If that goes to appeal I think he’ll struggle. There’s a bit of a snap in Ronaldo definitely.’ 

Another former United star, Owen Hargreaves, said: ‘We all love him but if you do that you’re probably going to get sent off. His reaction just shows how much he still cares. Poor from Valencia to lose 2-0 at home to 10 men.’

Ferdinand concluded: ‘He sees goals in this group – and he’s going back to United as well, that’s brought on the emotion. Whether you love him or hate him that’s part of his make-up.’

 

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