Real's Ramos pleads for more leniency from referees after red-card record

Sergio Ramos is Real Madrid's most sent off player — 23 times — with former defender Fernando Hierro trailing way behind on 12 red cards.
Real's Ramos pleads for more leniency from referees after red-card record

Deportivo de la Coruna's Guilherme and Florin Andone head the ball during their La Liga clash with Real Madrid in A Coruna, Spain, on August 20, 2017. Real won 3-0 but had captain Sergio Ramos sent off.

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos believes English referees are more lenient than their Spanish counterparts and has asked La Liga match officials to take a leaf out of the Premier League book after being sent off in Sunday's 3-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna.

The captain earned a second booking in injury time for elbowing Deportivo's Borja Valle while challenging for an aerial ball, adding to the yellow card he received in the second half for slapping Fabian Schar in an off-the-ball scuffle.

"In some areas we need to look more at English football and let the players play on more, I like their system better. In Europe referees are more tolerant," Ramos, who received the 23rd red card of his Real career, told reporters.

"I don't agree with the (second) yellow card, it was harsh, but I respect the opinion of the referee. I have no intention of hurting him, I just supported myself, but you learn from everything."

Explaining the first incident with Schar, which occurred when Deportivo's Zakaria Bakkali player was injured on the floor, Ramos added: "We didn't kick the ball out because they didn't do it (earlier in the game).

"They ran after me, Schar headbutted me and all I did was push him out the way without trying to hurt him."

Ramos is Real's most sent off player, with former defender Fernando Hierro trailing way behind on 12 red cards.

Out of Ramos's 23 red cards, 18 have come in the La Liga, three were shown in the UEFA Champions League and two in the Copa del Rey. The center back, however, has never been dismissed in 143 games for Spain.

Five players were sent off in eight Liga games over the weekend, compared to two in nine Premier League games.

On Saturday, all soccer matches in Spain held a minute's silence to honor victims as the Spanish league began a new season under the shadow of recent attacks in Barcelona and a nearby coastal town.

Sunday's game in Barcelona against Real Betis became a focal point for a city insisting it won't be afraid, The Associated Press reported.

We are all Barcelona

Barcelona players had the word "Barcelona" instead of their names on the back of their shirts, and the Catalan hashtag "TOTSSOMBARCELONA" (We are all Barcelona) was on display around the Camp Nou stadium. The message was also shown on the stadium's large screens, as well as on many banners carried by fans.

An emotional minute's silence was held before the game as the music of Catalan cellist Pau Casals played in the background.

Before the minute was up, the more than 55,000 fans at the stadium broke into a round of applause and began chanting "No tinc por" (I'm not afraid), a chant which has become a symbol of people's reaction to the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils.

Without Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi thrived and led the Catalan club to a comfortable 2-0 victory.

He came agonizingly close to scoring his 350th La Liga goal, but was denied by the woodwork three different times.

Barcelona scored goals three minutes apart near the end of the first half — an own-goal by Betis defender Alin Tosca and a close-range shot by Sergi Roberto.

Barcelona was coming off consecutive losses to Real in the Spanish Super Cup final.

Gareth Bale, meanwhile, made the most of the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo by scoring one goal and setting up another to make sure Real got its title defense off to a winning start.

It was also an important opportunity for Bale to show that he should keep his spot in the starting 11 after Ronaldo completes the remaining three matches of his suspension for pushing a referee in the Super Cup. Francisco "Isco" Alarcon and Marco Asensio had superb performances to lead Real to both the European and Spanish Super Cups and they are putting pressure on Bale for his spot in the lineup.

After withstanding Deportivo's early surge, Bale provided the opening goal in the 20th when he tapped in a rebound.

Casemiro added a second goal seven minutes later, and Bale assisted Toni Kroos to round off the victory in the 63rd.

Athletic Bilbao was held by Getafe to a 0-0 draw despite playing nearly 30 minutes with an extra man at its San Mames Stadium.

Getafe midfielder Alvaro Jimenez was sent off with a second yellow card in the 66th but Bilbao was not able to take advantage.

Getafe claimed a first-half goal but the referee ruled that the ball did not cross the goalline.

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