For the first time in his career, Cristiano Ronaldo has been sent off in a UEFA Champions League match. The “incident” occurred in the first half of the match between Juventus and Valencia, though it wasn’t much of an incident. Watch as Ronaldo makes what appears to be inadvertent contact with a Valencia defender, then mysteriously sees a red card.
The moment that saw Cristiano Ronaldo see red— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 19, 2018
[ : U.S. only] pic.twitter.com/IB3ffZweXw
Ronaldo and his teammates were, justifiably, incredulous. And strangely, this decision didn’t come from a referee who’s new to the highest level of competition, but from the crew of German official Felix Brych, who is very experienced in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
The only explanation I can come up with is that one of Brych’s assistants told him that Ronaldo had intentionally struck Jeison Murillo in the face. But on replay, it’s clear that any contact from Ronaldo’s arm to Murillo’s face was not only inadvertent, but not particularly hard either.
It’s an inexplicable decision, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Brych or one of his assistants didn’t work a Champions League match for a while.