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Who will emerge as Madrid's alpha with Ronaldo gone?

Real Madrid

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A history of Cristiano Ronaldo's six red cards at Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial sending off in Sunday's Spanish Super Cup first leg at Barcelona has again turned the spotlight on some of the less happy moments of his eight years at Real Madrid.

The five-match ban handed down by the Spanish authorities on Monday (one for the sending off, four for pushing referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea) means that, barring a successful appeal, Ronaldo will have missed 15 games through suspension in total for the club.

Ronaldo has now been sent off six times in total during his time in Spain -- here is what happened.

1. Almeria - La Liga - Dec. 5, 2010

Ronaldo's first sending off in a Madrid shirt came in his first season at the club, in a home game against lowly Almeria which proved more tricky than expected.

With Ronaldo returning from two months out with an ankle injury, the week after a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona at Camp Nou, Madrid found themselves 2-1 down in front of the predictably upset Bernabeu fans. A

lthough Ronaldo saw a penalty saved by Almeria's Diego Alves at 2-2, he did make it 4-2 from close range with time almost up, and was booked for removing his jersey during a characteristically emotional goal celebration. Then was shown a second yellow for kicking through the legs of Almeria's Juanma Ortiz, who had marked him closely during the previous 87 minutes.

"I'm human and I made a mistake," Ronaldo said afterwards. "I have my flaws too. I was sad after missing the penalty. I am a perfectionist. I was sent off because I reacted instinctively. I wish to apologise for that." The relatively lenient punishment on this occasion was a one match ban, which saw Ronaldo miss the trip to Valencia, a 3-2 victory for Manuel Pellegrini's side.

2. Malaga - La Liga - Jan. 24, 2010

Six weeks later Ronaldo was sent off again, this time being shown a straight red card for elbowing Malaga's Patrick Jan Mtiliga, again at the Bernabeu. Earlier in the game Ronaldo had scored both goals, including a superb volley, to put his team 2-0 ahead. But with the three points already secured he raised an arm into the face of Mtiliga, who was substituted with blood flowing from a fractured nose.

Ronaldo went to the Malaga dressing room to apologise afterwards, but still told reporters: "In England I learned a lot because I used to dive before, but now I get a bit angry when players do things like this. Maybe in the images you see blood, but anyone who understands football knows it was not a red card. It was bad luck as the Malaga kid is only 5-foot-6, if he was taller I would have caught him in the chest."

The punishment was a two game suspension -- a 3-1 win for Madrid at Deportivo La Coruna, and 3-0 win at home to Espanyol as Pellegrini's side kept up an ultimately futile chase of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona.

3. Atletico Madrid - Copa del Rey final - May 18, 2013

Ronaldo's third sending off was also a straight red card -- for kicking Atletico Madrid captain Gabi in the face as Diego Simeone's side were about to win the 2013 Copa del Rey final at the Bernabeu.

As Atletico clung to a 2-1 lead late in extra-time, Gabi struck first with a crunching challenge from behind. Ronaldo then showed remarkable agility to contort his body as he fell to ensure his boot made contact with the Atletico skipper's nose.

This sparked a general melee during which Atletico keeper Thibaut Courtois was hit by an object thrown from stands. Real manager Jose Mourinho was also ordered off as the final game of his three turbulent seasons was their first loss to Atletico in any game in 14 years.

A two match ban was served in the next season's Copa -- meaning Ronaldo missed both legs of a 2-0 aggregate win over third tier Olimpic de Xativa.

4. Athletic Bilbao - La Liga - Feb. 2, 2014

The following February Ronaldo picked up another straight red card after being involved in a confrontation with Athletic's Carlos Gurpegi and Ander Iturraspe at San Mames. A scuffle broke out as the teams waited for a set-piece to be delivered into the Athletic area, with the score at 1-1 and 20 minutes remaining, and referee Miguel Angel Ayza Gamez wrote in his report that Ronaldo had struck an opponent in the face.

The official match report also noted that as he left the pitch Ronaldo had slapped himself on the cheek, a gesture which cost him an extra two-game suspension for disrespecting the officials.

Then Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said the three game ban was "not normal" and the Bernabeu hierarchy continued to fight it right up until the morning of the third game against Elche, petitioning a Spanish government body to get the punishment overturned.

Real still won all three matches easily (4-2 vs. Villarreal, 3-0 at Getafe, 3-0 vs. Elche), with Gareth Bale starring, and went three points clear atop the La Liga table.

Amid the controversy veteran official Ayza Gomez was sent "to the cooler" for a month, by the Spanish League's Refereeing Technical Committee, and did not take charge of any more Madrid games, before he retired from refereeing at the end of that campaign.

Ronaldo kicked out at Edimar.

5. Cordoba - La Liga - Jan. 24, 2015

Madrid went to Cordoba with their season in trouble, and were 1-1 against their relegation threatened opponents with time running out.

Ronaldo had been a peripheral figure, with no shots on target, when in the 84th minute he was unable to reach a free kick sent into the box by Toni Kroos, and reacted by kicking out at marker Edimar. As players rushed to get involved he then pushed his hand into the face of Cordoba centre-back Jose Angel Crespo. While leaving the pitch he reacted to barracking from the home fans by showing off the "World Club champions" badge on his jersey.

Bale then won and scored a late penalty to get the three points for Madrid, and Ronaldo went on Twitter to apologise for his "impulsive action." The referee's report just mentioned the kick at Edimar, and he received a two-match ban.

6. Barcelona - Spanish Super Cup - Aug. 13, 2017

Ronaldo only needed 24 minutes to steal the show in Sunday's Spanish Supercopa first leg at the Camp Nou, scoring a dramatic goal before being sent off.

After Gerard Pique's own goal was followed by Lionel Messi's controversial penalty, Ronaldo struck a superb goal to put his team in control of the tie, cutting inside Pique and finding the top corner from 20 yards. His celebration, where he mocked Messi's shirt-holding, saw him booked.

And the Portugal international's night soon turned more dramatic, as he went down claiming a penalty under minimal contact from Samuel Umtiti before being shown a second yellow card for simulation. His angry response, including a push on referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea, led to a five-match ban but Real won 3-1.

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


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