BARCELONA • Real Madrid will be without Cristiano Ronaldo for five matches after the forward was banned for pushing the referee who sent him off during Real Madrid's 3-1 Spanish Super Cup first leg victory over Barcelona on Sunday.
The Spanish Football Federation announced the sanction yesterday following Real coach Zinedine Zidane's promise to appeal Ronaldo's second yellow card.
The four-time World Player of the Year was shown a red card in bizarre fashion at the Camp Nou. He collected a yellow card for taking his shirt off after putting Real ahead 2-1 and mimicking Lionel Messi's celebration at the Bernabeu in April's El Clasico.
He was then shown a second yellow for diving to attempt to win a penalty. Upset by referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea's decision to dismiss him, Ronaldo shoved the official.
The Spanish Football Federation issued the Portugal captain with a €3,005 (S$4,800) fine and a four-match suspension, in addition to the automatic one-game ban the player was due to serve for his red card.
Ronaldo is expected to miss the second leg of the Super Cup tomorrow, as well as LaLiga fixtures with Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad.
However, Zidane is hopeful the ban will be reduced. He said: "We played a great game but I am annoyed by Cristiano's sending off.
"Perhaps it wasn't a penalty but the red card is a little harsh. We can't change it, but we'll try and make sure he plays on Wednesday."
There was frustration too for Barcelona, who are still reeling from having Neymar snatched away by Paris Saint-Germain.
They started their season in need of optimism, but instead got a view of the growing gap between themselves and their arch-rivals.
Influential midfielder Sergio Busquets admitted that the Catalans have to strengthen their squad before the transfer window closes on Aug 31.
"It is a question of renewal and always trying to get better. We have to (sign) whatever happens," he told Spanish TV station Telecinco.
Barca have been heavily linked with moves for Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho - left out of Liverpool's squad for their Champions League play-off first-leg match away to Hoffenheim today - and Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund.
But it was Brazilian international Paulinho who became the club's first signing since banking a world record €222 million fee for Neymar.
Barcelona yesterday agreed a €40 million fee with Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande for the midfielder. The 29-year-old inked a four-year deal.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE