MADRID (AFP) - World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for two matches after being sent-off for lashing out at Cordoba defender Edimar during Real Madrid's 2-1 win on Saturday.
The Portuguese will miss home games against Real Sociedad and Sevilla in the next week, but crucially will be free to feature against La Liga champions Atletico Madrid on Feb 7.
Madrid currently lead Barcelona by a point at the top of La Liga, but also have a game in hand.
Ronaldo has had an eventful month after picking up his third Ballon d'Or in Zurich and splitting from long term supermodel girlfriend Irina Shayk.
On the field his form has dipped and his frustration boiled over when he was dismissed for the ninth time in his career for kicking the Brazilian whilst the scores were still level at 1-1 with seven minutes to go before Gareth Bale grabbed a late winner from the penalty spot.
The former Manchester United man had also got away with a slap on Jose Crespo moments before the red card.
He then infuriated the Cordoba support by pointing to the badge on Real's shirt which recognises their recent win in the Club World Cup as he left the field.
The 29-year-old subsequently apologised for his actions via his official Twitter account.
"I apologise to everyone and especially to Edimar for my rash act," he wrote on Saturday.
However, referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez did not classify Ronaldo's act as violent conduct allowing him to escape with just a two-game ban.
Barcelona striker Neymar caused furore when he insisted Ronaldo should be punished earlier in the week.
Yet, the Brazilian also defended his Madrid rival by claiming the best players are often provoked into reacting, citing French legend Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutt on Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final.
"It is easy to talk about for those that aren't involved. All players are exposed to these things and sometimes you can put up with it and other times not.
"We can't act like that, but I think he will be punished. It is also difficult because sometimes there is provocation and it can happen like what happened to Zidane."
Last season, Ronaldo was handed a three-game ban for taking his protests too far after being sent-off for clashing with Athletic Bilbao's Carlos Gurpegi and Ander Iturraspe.