Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos will definitely be free to face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey after picking up another convenient card in the 2-1 defeat by Girona.
Ramos went into the match on four La Liga bookings, knowing a fifth would activate a one-match domestic ban, and was cautioned in the 64th minute for using his hands to prevent a goal.
That automatically ruled him out of next weekend’s game against Levante but the Real captain’s day went from bad to worse when he received a second yellow and was sent off after appearing to make contact with a Girona player’s head during an attempted a bicycle kick at the death.
Real were already 2-1 behind when he was dismissed as Cristhian Stuani had scored from the penalty Ramos conceded and Portu had turned the game on its head after Casemiro’s first half opener.
Real play Levante next weekend, with the following game against fierce rivals Barcelona on February 27.
The red card means Ramos has a one-game ban and remains on four yellow cards. He returns for the Copa del Rey semi-final against Barcelona on February 27.
But with two back-to-back installments of El Clasico, a booking in the cup match would mean he misses the following March 2 La Liga game at the Santiago Bernabeu.
It was his 25th red card in all competitions during his Real career and he is the first player in La Liga history to sent off 20 times.
But unlike his booking against Ajax in the Champions League in midweek, Ramos’s yellow wasn’t completely harmless to his side.
In midweek, Ramos appeared to ask the Real bench if he should get a yellow in the closing minutes against Ajax in order to activate a suspension for the second leg. It came after Marcos Asensio put Real 2-1 up in Amsterdam in the 87th minute.
Ramos was then duly booked for clattering into Kasper Dolberg. He admitted afterwards that it was a plan to miss the second leg and have a clean slate for if Madrid reach the quarter-final stage.
He said: ‘Looking at the result I would be lying if I said it wasn’t intentional.
‘It’s something I was thinking about, it’s not to underestimate the opponent nor say the tie is over but in football you have to take difficult decisions so I decided to do it.’
But UEFA have launched an investigation into his comments and if they find he has brought the game into disrepute, he will face an extra one-game ban.
His fate will not be decided until the end of this month.