Cristiano Ronaldo has been given a two-game ban for kicking out at an opponent during Real Madrid's 2-1 La Liga win at Cordoba at the weekend.
This means Ronaldo will miss Madrid's upcoming home games against Real Sociedad on Saturday and Sevilla next Wednesday, but be free to return for Feb. 7's crunch clash at neighbours Atletico Madrid.
Ronaldo was sent off late in Saturday's game at Cordoba, when the score was still 1-1, having been spotted kicking Cordoba left-back Edimar off the ball, in apparent frustration at his inability to get the better of close marking during the game.
Just minutes earlier the Portuguese had also thrown a punch at marker Jose Angel Crespo after the pair had clashed at a corner. After being shown the red card the Ballon D'Or holder scuffled with two Cordoba players, and then reacted to barracking from the home fans by showing off the "World Club champions" badge on his jersey.
Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez included just the kick on Crespo in his official match-report, and La Liga's disciplinary committee on Wednesday decided that just two games was adequate punishment. According to AS Madrid's legal department sent some "pertinent information" to the committee for consideration ahead of their decision.
The last time Ronaldo was sent off, for a similar incident at Athletic Bilbao in January 2014, he received a three game ban. Madrid then appealed, and drummed up a media furore but to no avail. This time the Bernabeu hierarchy and the player are thought likely to accept the punishment.
After cooling down following the final whistle last Saturday, Ronaldo used twitter to apologise to Crespo for what he said had been an "impulsive action." Teammate Gareth Bale had earlier saved Madrid from further embarrassment by both winning and converting the late penalty which secured the three points and kept Carlo Ancelotti's side atop the league table.
La Liga president Javier Tebas told news agency EFE that Ronaldo's apology was something which should be appreciated.
"It's not up to me [the punishment], that's for the Federation's Competition Committee," Tebas said. "I'd rather focus on the apology from Cristiano afterwards. Unsportsmanlike behaviour isn't good for La Liga, Cristiano was unsporting but I'll stick with the fact he wasn't but apologised. I like to look for the positive and I appreciated his apology and that's something we value."
The incident did however still draw further attention to Ronaldo's difficult start to 2015. His lack of influence on recent games has brought further media talk that his fitness is an issue at the moment, and the 29-year-old himself admitted after Madrid were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Atletico that he had become "used to playing with pain."
Such speculation was also heightened by Ronaldo being photographed at a Madrid hospital on Tuesday afternoon, although both AS and Marca subsequently reported that the visit was for a routine check-up which all Blancos players have carried out regularly.