Retired referee Estrada Fernandez has claimed that after he red-carded Cristiano Ronaldo in a 2009 match, he was barred from officiating Real Madrid games that year.
The incident occurred on December 5 of that year during a match against Almeria at the Santiago Bernabeu, which Fernandez officiated in La Liga. Madrid triumphed 4-2, but the game was notable for being the first occasion that Ronaldo was sent off while donning the Los Blancos jersey.
The pivotal sequence of events transpired within a mere three-minute window toward the end of the game. Ronaldo, caught up in the euphoria of scoring a goal, took off his shirt in celebration in the 84th minute, earning his first yellow card.
Subsequently, a contentious kick aimed at Almeria’s Juan Ortiz merited Ronaldo a second yellow card in the 88th minute, culminating in his getting sent off from the match.
Now retired from officiating in La Liga, Estrada Fernandez broke his silence on the matter, saying (via Barca Universal):
“In 2009, I sent off Cristiano Ronaldo in a match. That season, they didn’t allow me to referee another Real Madrid game. There is media power. You have to be careful when making a decision due to this pressure.”
The notion that the media can apply indirect pressure on referees raises significant questions about the integrity of the game. This situation comes amidst revelations that Barcelona are being charged for bribing referees in what is now known as the Negreira Case.
It is believed that the Blaugrana made payments to former vice president of the refereeing committee, Jose María Enríquez Negreira. This has seen La Liga president Javier Tebas discuss a deduction of points, while Barcelona president Joan Laporta has called it a “smear campaign” (via Barca Blaugranes).
The timeline of Cristiano Ronaldo’s red cards while at Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo’s impressive journey at Real Madrid was not without its contentious moments, punctuated by a series of red cards. While the Portuguese superstar is renowned for his prowess on the pitch, a handful of disciplinary incidents lightly marred his tenure at the Bernabeu.
In January 2010, Ronaldo’s next indiscretion came – against Malaga in a 2-0 victory – wherein he scored both goals for Los Blancos. His red card was brandished after an elbow to Patrick Mtiliga’s face, causing a broken nose for the Danish international.
Fast forward to the 2013 Copa Del Rey Final, Ronaldo’s transgression this time involved an alleged kick to the jaw of Atletico Madrid’s then-captain Gabi. Despite the ambiguity surrounding the extent of the contact, he was shown a red card during extra-time.
A year later, in 2014, during a fixture against Athletic Club at San Mames, he was dismissed in the 75th minute for striking Carlos Gurpegi. The consequence was a three-match ban, leaving Los Blancos without their talisman for an extended period.
The last red card for Cristiano Ronaldo while at Real Madrid came in January 2015, against Cordoba at the Estadio Nuevo Arcangel. This time, he was sent off in the 82nd minute for kicking Edimar Fraga.