Xabi Alonso feels Cristiano Ronaldo was not without blame for his red card in Real Madrid's 1-1 La Liga draw against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday evening.
The 28-year-old was sent off following an altercation with Carlos Gurpegui and Ander Iturraspe in the 76th minute, but Alonso feels referee Miguel Ayza buckled under pressure from home fans.
"Cristiano shouldn’t have done what he did, but it was not a sending off," Xabi Alonso told reporters.
"It was not aggression, Cristiano's red was exaggerated, Gurpegui made the most of it.
"The crowd influenced the referee throughout the match. This always happens, it's nothing new."
Alonso then went on to discuss the Liga title race and stressed that Madrid still have everything in their own hands.
"We don’t have to look at other teams and have our fate in our own hands.
"There are a lot of points left to play for and it looks like that what happens between now and the end of the season will be very interesting."
Madrid are currently trailing leaders Atletico Madrid by three points.