Lucas Vazquez is Real Madrid's most fouled player in the penalty area this year
The penalty converted by Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid late in Wednesday's Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Juventus is already one of the most controversial moments in the competition's history -- with the challenge on Lucas Vazquez by Medhi Benatia having already been replayed over and over again.
The heated debate has led to further analysis of Vazquez's penalty winning abilities. Over the years, the Galician has earned a reputation (mostly with opposition players, fans and pundits) as someone who knows how to "provoke" contact inside the area. As recently as last weekend's 1-1 La Liga derbi against Atletico Madrid he was shown a yellow card for an 87th minute dive in the box.
AS report that he has been the Real Madrid player most fouled for spot kicks already this season -- with four coming since the turn of the calendar year. Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale are next on two and six players, including Ronaldo, have been fouled once in the box so far in 2017-18.
Not all four of Vazquez's have been clear cut decisions either, with Buffon and Juve not the first opponents to end the game feeling they had been hard-done by with penalty calls involving the Spain winger. Here's what has happened for him so far this year.
1. Copa del Rey, Jan. 1, 2018 -- Numancia 0-3 Real Madrid
Madrid's first game of 2018 was a trip to Segunda Division promotion challengers Numancia, with Lucas one of the senior members of an XI filled out with academy players. The highly motivated home side had a huge penalty claim when Theo Hernandez appeared to push over ex-Barca B winger Dani Nieto.
Madrid took advantage of the protests to go straight up the other end, and Lucas burst into the penalty area and provoked home defender Carlos Gutierrez into a trip with a step over. Bale grabbed the ball and calmly converted the spot kick. On this occasion referee Xavier Estrada Fernandez was correct to award the penalty, but Numancia also had a genuine grievance over the decision immediately before.
2. Copa del Rey, Jan. 1, 2018 -- Numancia 0-3 Real Madrid
After the break Numancia kept pressing for an equaliser, and were enraged by Estrada Fernandez again waving away loud penalty claims when centre-forward Higinio appeared to be bundled over by Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez.
One more, Madrid came again, with Lucas running at right-back Unai Medina and going to ground. Replays this time showed that the defender had not even attempted a challenge, and the Galician had clearly thrown himself embarrassingly to the floor. Isco's successful spotkick more or less killed the tie, but Numancia's players channelled their anger into a battling performance to get a 2-2 at the Bernabeu in the second leg.
3. La Liga, March 31, 2018 -- Las Palmas 0-3 Real Madrid
In late March, Madrid were 1-0 up at relegation strugglers Las Palmas when a corner was half cleared to the byline where Lucas picked it up heading away from goal and covered by three defenders. When Las Palmas forward Jonathan Calleri clumsily attempted a tackle, Lucas accepted the gift and went down.
Referee Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes had no real option in this case, with the forward's positioning of his body having tempted Calleri into what is known as a 'typical forward's challenge'. Gareth Bale later netted another spot kick after the Wales international had been fouled himself, with UDLP coach Paco Jemez afterwards talking of how "easy" it was to award penalties to Madrid.
4. Champions League - April 11, 2018 -- Real Madrid 1-3 Juventus [4-3 agg]
Wednesday's dramatic game at the Bernabeu had entered the third of three added minutes when Ronaldo soared and cleverly headed down a cross to where Lucas appeared unmarked six yards out. Caught the wrong side, Benatia put a hand onto the back of his opponent, who was already going to the floor before the Morocco international tried to hook the ball away and followed through to make contact with Lucas' chest.
Inside the stadium at the time it seemed a foul and, although Michael Oliver's decision will likely be debated for years to come, you can see why it was given. We will never know whether the initial contact was enough to knock Lucas over, but it seemed clear the 26-year-old preferred to give Ronaldo a penalty opportunity rather than attempt to score a difficult chance himself in such a huge moment.
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