Five years on from the last meeting between two giants of world football, Real Madrid and Juventus served up a first half of fascinating quality on Wednesday night to tee up what should have been a sensational crescendo. But, yet again, the fans leaving the Bernabeu at full time and those digesting what they had seen on TV all across the globe were left talking about cheating and abysmal officiating after Giorgio Chiellini’s ridiculous red card.
The decision to send the Juve defender from the field of play in the 48th minute of his side’s 2-1 Champions League Group B defeat would have damaged the memory of what should have been a fantastic match regardless of the context. But Cristiano Ronaldo’s unforgivable play acting and the officials’ conclusion that Chiellini should play no further part for simply administering the kind of defending that is seen 100 times per game struck a blow against the spirit in which football is supposed to be played.
Chiellini had already fallen foul of the assistant referees once, with Madrid’s vital second goal coming from a penalty conceded by the giant stopper after he pulled back the home side’s Sergio Ramos at a corner. That decision had been made thanks to good communication between the team of officials, with the additional assistant behind the goal helping the referee come to the correct outcome.
However, Chiellini’s red card was altogether less worthy, and the main person to blame for the dismissal was Ronaldo. When chasing a ball into the far corner of the field, the Madrid striker was side-by-side with Chiellini when the Italian stretched out a high arm to leverage a path in front of the 94 million euro man, making contact with Ronaldo at the top of the chest before sliding his arm up against the Portuguese’s chin. Ronaldo’s response was to sprawl across the turf, clutching a face in general and nose in particular. His nose that had not been touched.
- Sports & Recreation
- Real Madrid
- Giorgio Chiellini
- Cristiano Ronaldo