Did Ramos & Alonso pick up deliberate bookings... again?
Real Madrid could land themselves in hot water with UEFA after Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso appeared to deliberately pick up yellow cards in their Champions League quarter-final first leg clash against Galatasaray.
Both men picked up bookings late in the tie with Madrid already leading 3-0. It means they will now sit out the return leg in Istanbul next week but will now, crucially, have an unblemished disciplinary record for the semi-finals should the Spanish club advance.
Ramos received his booking after petulantly kicking the ball away while Alonso was cautioned by referee Oddvar Moen for dissent.
It is not the first time Madrid have resorted to such tactics with the club coming under fire in November 2010 when the same two players - Ramos and Alonso - were punished for deliberately seeking red cards against Ajax.
On that occasion, UEFA slapped Alonso and Ramos with a €20,000 fine each, while boss Jose Mourinho, who allegedly ordered the players to engineer the red cards, was handed a suspended two-game ban and was fined €40,000. Iker Casillas and Jerzy Dudek were also fined for their parts in the episode.
Whether UEFA, whose regulations state that andy player who deliberately seeks a booking can be handed a two-game ban, will deem last night's actions worthy of investigation remains to be seen.
Mourinho was adamant, though, Ramos and Alonso will be missed for the return leg in Istanbul. "They are important absences for the next games," he said.
"Ramos and Alonso can now play on Saturday [in the league], when they weren't going to but it complicates my plans for the second leg. When I saw the cards, what I had been thinking about doing [in the second leg] was ruined."
Madrid are not the only team to have been punished for the practice in the past. In 2008, Lyon duo Cris and Juninho Pernambucano were fined €15,000 and €10,000 respectively after picking up 'deliberate' cautions during a Champions League match against Fiorentina.
David Beckham also got in on the act when playing for England during the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, but made the mistake of admitting it publicly, saying that "he is not that stupid (to get sent off without a good reason)".
Similar skulduggery was also on display in the UAE Pro League clash between Al Ain and Al Nasr earlier this season.
Three of Al Ain's players Omar and Khaled Abdulrahman and Dawoud Sulaiman were all booked for time wasting meaning they served their suspensions in cup ties rather than crucial league fixtures.