Atletico's Antoine Griezmann gets two-game ban for 'disparaging' referee
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has been given a two-game suspension after being sent off for using an offensive word to the referee during Saturday's 2-2 draw in their La Liga opener at newly promoted Girona.
With Atletico trying to retrieve a 2-0 deficit midway through the second half, Griezmann was booked for a dive in the Girona penalty then immediately shown a second yellow by referee Juan Martinez Munera after protesting the decision.
Martinez Munera's official match report said the France international had called him a "cagón," which roughly translates as "chickens---."
The Spanish disciplinary committee said that while it was an "offensive word" and an "unjustifiable reaction" to the decision, Griezmann has been deemed only to have "disparaged" the referee. Had the authorities decided he had "insulted" the official, the suspension would have been longer.
Griezmann was also fined €600, and Atletico €700.
Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno received a two-game ban in May 2016 when he used the same word to a linesman, as did then Getafe forward Miku in 2011.
Atletico could appeal as the first yellow shown for a dive was contentious, with Griezmann appearing to be caught by Girona keeper Gorka Iraizoz as he chased a loose ball in the penalty area.
Asked on Saturday what he had said to Griezmann after the game, Atletico coach Diego Simeone said only: "I have not spoken with him."
Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez told journalists: "[Griezmann] has not said anything to us, but he is hurting a lot for leaving the team with 10 players in a difficult situation.
"He always tries to help the team. We hope the ban is the fewest games possible."
Playing their first ever Primera Division game, Girona deservedly took control when ex-Middlesbrough striker Christian Stuani scored two excellent headers in three minutes midway through the first half.
However, Atletico hit back after substitute Angel Correa produced a superb solo strike and defender Jose Maria Gimenez headed in the equaliser with just five minutes remaining.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan