MADRID – Real Madrid head coach Santiago Solari refused on Saturday to accept that Spain defender Sergio Ramos had deliberately gone out to get booked with a yellow card during his team’s 2-1 away win against Ajax in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
Media had cited Ramos as confirming that he got himself booked intentionally so as to serve a one-match ban in the second leg of the matchup, thereby making himself available for following matches.
His remarks prompted UEFA to open an inquiry into the player’s attitude.
“The action in itself tells you all you need to know and that’s all there is to it,” Solari said at a press conference on the eve of Sunday’s La Liga home game against Girona.
Madrid will carry a 2-1 advantage back to the Santiago Bernabeu, but Ramos will miss the return after the yellow card meted out for his bad tackle on Kasper Dolberg, two minutes after Marco Asensio’s 87th-minute winner.
Three yellow cards attract a one-match ban, and it seems Ramos may have preferred to be suspended during the second match against Ajax rather than run the risk of serving a similar punishment in the quarterfinals.
Following Sunday’s game against Girona, Madrid is set to play Levante on the road, before facing off against its nemesis Barcelona in La Liga on March 2.
“We never think about it,” Solari said when asked whether Ramos would seek a fifth yellow card against Girona to make sure he would be eligible against Barcelona in the second Clasico in less than a week.
Barcelona will play against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Feb. 27 in the second leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16. Barcelona was held to a 1-1 draw on its home turf.
“We’re not thinking about forcing yellow cards and are only focused on the next game and going out and competing,” Solari added.
“Ramos has given the relevant explanation and he clearly stated that he was talking about forcing the foul and not a booking,” the coach continued.
After the Amsterdam game, Ramos told media “The truth is that given the result I would be lying if I said it was not something I had in mind.”
Later, Madrid captain posted to his Twitter account “I want to make clear that it hurts me more than anyone, I have not forced the card, as I did not against Roma in my previous game in the Champions League.”