By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer
Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Paco Buyo believes Cristiano Ronaldo didn't deserve to be sent off against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday - let alone receive a three-match ban.
The Blancos attacker was dismissed for aggression, after raising his hands to the faces of both Carlos Gurpegi and Ander Iturraspe in the 1-1 draw at San Mames, and also made a mocking gesture to the officials as he left the pitch.
Ronaldo, who turned 29 on Wednesday, was hit with a three-match ban by Spain's Football Federation (RFEF) - one game for the incident itself and a further two for the gesture.
"It doesn't seem fair to me," Buyo told Goal. "The gesture is a little disrespectful, but it's nothing serious. The referee could have given a yellow card to Cristiano and the other two Athletic players."
Of those, only Iturraspe was booked as Gurpegi escaped a caution, despite initially pushing Ronaldo and then theatrically falling to the ground in an attempt to get the Ballon d'Or holder sent off.
"The provocation comes from the Athletic player," Buyo added. "Three yellow cards [would have sufficed]; the referee showed he is not prepared to officiate these kind of games.
"The one who did the least was Cristiano and he was sent off. If that's a red card, then there should be many more sent off in Spain every week. For me, there was nothing extra special about what Cristiano did [compared to the others]."
Buyo says the Madeira-born forward is also targeted more than other players, but does admit he made a mistake on Sunday.
"It's not easy to live with so much pressure," he said. "He is used to it, but sometimes players make little mistakes - not just Cristiano but other footballers as well.
"Cristiano puts up with a lot: he is kicked, he is provoked and sometimes his actions are judged differently because of who he is, because he plays for Real Madrid, because he is the Ballon d'Or [holder] and because he is the best player in the world.
"There are many interests in football and he is placed under a different spotlight."