Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League suspension concern

Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United, Champions League, 2021/22

When Cristiano Ronaldo scored the dramatic late winner for Manchester United against Villarreal on Wednesday night, he ripped off his shirt to celebrate. As per the rules, that saw him shown a yellow card and now the No.7 is just two bookings away from missing a match through suspension.

This wasn’t the first time Cristiano Ronaldo has been booked for taking his shirt off to celebrate a Champions League goal. He also went into the referee’s notebook after scoring the fourth goal in the win over Atlético Madrid in the 2014 final, but then it was the final match of the tournament and there was zero suspension concern.

This year, it’s different. Ronaldo has received a yellow card very early on in the tournament and is now a third of the way towards receiving three yellow cards, the number which brings a suspension. Already 121 different players have collected at least one yellow card in the 2021/22 Champions League, but this is not a list you want to be on so early.

All these players are already on the metaphorical suspension tightrope, although this doesn’t last for the entire tournament. Ahead of the semi-finals, all yellow card tallies are wiped clean, as UEFA don’t want players collecting third yellows in the semi-final second legs and having to miss the final.

“From the first match in the group stage, players and team officials are suspended for the next competition match after three cautions, which did not result in a red card, as well as following any subsequent odd-numbered caution,” is what the UEFA regulations state. “All yellow cards expire on completion of the quarter-finals. They are not carried forward to the semi-finals.”

Yellow cards are not carried forward to the semi-finals.
- UEFA’s Champions League rules

Cristiano Ronaldo’s previous Champions League suspension

The former Real Madrid and Juventus forward has never been suspended in his Champions League career for three bookings, although only once before did he collect his first of the season as early as the second matchday. That was in 2010/11, when he finished the group stage with two bookings, but the No.7 didn’t receive any others during the knockout stages as Real Madrid reached the semi-finals and eventually fell to Barcelona.

Only once before, then, has Ronaldo been suspended for a Champions League game and that was after receiving his only red card in the tournament. It was actually quite recently, when he was sent off against Valencia for Juventus in the first matchday of 2018/19. That saw him miss the subsequent game against Young Boys.

He’ll be hoping to avoid another experience of watching on from the sidelines, especially as the 2021/22 Manchester United squad is built for a decent run in this year’s edition.