Blow for Real Madrid ahead of the Champions League return leg

Real Madrid suffers major blow in ambition to retain Champions League title

Reigning UEFA Champions League holders, Real Madrid, have been handed a blow in their quest to win the title for a fourth successive season after club captain, Sergio Ramos, was given an extra one-match ban for his yellow card in the first leg round of 16 clash with Ajax earlier in February. The booking initially would have seen Ramos miss just the second leg of a tie which Real leads 2-1.

But having been determined to have deliberately got himself booked by the referee after conceding a foul against substitute Kasper Dolberg in Amsterdam, the defender will now miss the first leg of Real Madrid’s quarter-final should the La Liga club make it past Ajax next week in the return leg. Ramos was shown a yellow card in the closing stages of Real’s 2-1 victory in Amsterdam, which means he is suspended for the second leg at Santiago Bernabeu on March 5.

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The Spain international then suggested in an interview after the match that he had been booked intentionally so as to avoid the risk of a suspension in the quarter-finals, although he later backtracked on those comments. However, UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body have now adjudged that Ramos had deliberately got himself booked and have issued an additional ban, meaning he will miss the first leg of the quarter-final should Real progress.

“The CEDB has decided to suspend the Real Madrid CF player Sergio Ramos for two (2) UEFA competition matches for which he would be otherwise eligible for clearly receiving a yellow card on purpose,” read a UEFA statement. “The two-match suspension includes the automatic one-match suspension for the repeated cautions.”

Speaking after the game at the time, the Real Madrid captain admitted to reporters than he had got himself booked on purpose. “Looking at the result, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t force [the booking],” he said. “It is not to underestimate the opponent nor to think that the series is over, but in football you have to make tough decisions.”

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Ramos later backtracked from his comments with a post on social media. “I want to make it clear that it hurts more than anyone, I have not forced the card, as I did not against Roma in my previous Champions League match,” the defender wrote on Twitter. “I will support from the stands as one more fan with the illusion of being in the quarters.”

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