Atletico Madrid coach Quique Sanchez Flores has criticised the press reaction to Tomas Ujfalusi's challenge on Lionel Messi during Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Barcelona, insisting that when an incident like this involves either Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, it is blown out of proportion.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the meeting with his former club Valencia, he leapt to the defence of his player, claiming that the fallout from the challenge has been magnified because Messi was on the receiving end.
He said: “Tomas did not go in with any intent to injure, and it was unfortunate. I hope common sense prevails and I hope that the punishment is not very long.
“All this happens because it is Messi, a great player, and his injury deprives us of watching him. But we must only see the history of Tomas, who has never injured anyone and whose record speaks for itself.
“The scale of everything that has happened is determined by the profile of the player. I have seen many of these challenges and often there is no injury. But we all know that if it happens at the feet of Messi or Cristiano, it causes people to cry out to heaven. Tomas apologised after the match.”
The Competitions Committee will meet today to discuss the length of ban, which could hefty as 12 matches, to be administered to Ujfalusi.
According to the Castrol Rankings, Ujfalusi’s performances have picked up since the start of the season. The defender has risen 118 places in the latest edition of the rankings and is now rated as the 637th best player currently plying his trade in one of the top five leagues in Europe.