Sergio Ramos received his marching orders against Girona on Sunday (Getty Images)
Sergio Ramos became the first player to receive 20 red cards in Europe’s top five leagues when he was dismissed during Real Madrid’s 2-1 defeat to Girona at the Bernabeu on Sunday.
The 32-year-old was booked after 64 minutes for blocking a goalbound shot with his hand before receiving a second yellow in the 90th minute after catching an opponent in the face while attempting an overhead kick.
The red card was Ramos’ 25th in Real Madrid colours and it represented the 20th time he has been sent for an early bath in La Liga – a total higher than any other player in history has managed while playing in La Liga, the Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1 or the Bundesliga.
Cyril Rool who played for six French clubs during his career including Marseille, Monaco and Bordeaux, had held the record for a decade after being sent off 19 times in Ligue 1.
Ramos’ latest sending off followed quickly on from his controversial yellow card against Ajax in the Champions League last-16 on Wednesday when he admitted that he had deliberately got himself booked in order to miss the second leg of that tie.
A yellow card in that game at the Johan Cruijff ArenA means that Ramos is suspended for the return leg at the Bernabeu, meaning his disciplinary record will be wiped should Real progress to the quarter-finals.
He admitted after the game that the card had been premeditated, saying: ‘Yes, the truth is that seeing the result… it’s something I had in mind.’ UEFA could take a dim view of that admission as they have extended bans to other players who have been carded on purpose, including Ramos’ teammate Dani Carvajal back in 2017.
Ramos’ red card against Girona means that he will be absent for Real Madrid’s next league game against Levante on Sunday but crucially he will be able to face Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey semi-final second leg at the Bernabeu a few days later.
The scoreline in that tie is 1-1 from the first leg. Interestingly, Ramos has never been sent off while playing for Spain despite amassing the second-highest number of caps for his country with 161.
The defeat was a costly one for Real as they have slipped nine points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona in the table while Atletico Madrid are also two points ahead of them in second.