Cristiano Ronaldo red card 'too much' in Real Madrid win vs. Barca - Zidane
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said Cristiano Ronaldo's sending off was "too much" and suggested the club will appeal the decision, when speaking after Sunday's drama-filled 3-1 Spanish Super Cup first-leg win at Barcelona.
Ronaldo's 24 minutes as a substitute saw him score a superb lead goal for his team, be booked for removing his jersey during the celebration, and then quickly pick up a second yellow after referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea ruled the Portugal star had dived to try and win a penalty.
That was just one major talking point on a night which also saw Gerard Pique's own goal put Madrid ahead, Lionel Messi pull Barca level with a controversial penalty won by Luis Suarez, and Madrid starlet Marco Asensio score an absolute screamer to put his side fully in control ahead of Wednesday's second leg at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo is likely to face extra punishment after pushing De Burgos Bengoetxea as he reacted angrily to the second yellow card, but speaking at the postgame news conference Zidane suggested Madrid would appeal to the authorities to get the second booking overturned.
"I am not getting into it about the referee," Zidane said. "We played a great game. I could be annoyed maybe by Ronaldo's red card. Perhaps it is not a penalty, but the [second yellow] card is a bit too much. We cannot change that now, although we will try and get him with us on Wednesday."
The French manager said he was proud of the effort put in by his side, who were able to increase their advantage even when a man down. However he cautioned that the trophy was not secured yet.
"I am very proud of the players," Zidane said. "Also with 10 they did very well, fought hard, believed in the win until the end. We must thank the players for that. I am happy, but this is not over yet. We must play on Wednesday. We must enjoy today as it is a day to enjoy, but tomorrow think about the second leg."
Asensio's 25-yard strike to the top corner means the one-time Barca target, still just 21, has now scored on his debut for Madrid in La Liga, the Copa del Rey, Champions League, UEFA Supercup and Spanish Super Cup.
"What [Asensio] is doing does not surprise me," Zidane said. "He is doing phenomenally well, has quality, breaks the lines, is fast, strikes the ball so well. This is nothing new for us.
"It is not easy to come into the game in the last 15 minutes, but every time he plays he makes the difference. But also Mateo Kovacic, and Isco, played great games too. It is not about individuals in this team."
Kovacic had started in place of the suspended Luka Modric, and shadowed Barca dangerman Messi closely until he had to leave injured midway through the second half.
"Mateo has a bit of a problem with his adductor, which is why he came off," Zidane said. "But we are very happy with what he is doing, he did what we asked him, as he always does."
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