VIDEO: Player banned for life after he brutally knees referee in the face

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Canelas 2010 forward Marco Goncalves has been banned from the club for life after he kneed a referee in the face - even though he claims he does not remember doing it.

The attack sparked chaos on the field, with the police coming on to the pitch to calm the tension, ending with the game being abandoned and the players being escorted off.

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The trouble started when Goncalves clashed with a defender after a challenge and struck him, sending him to the ground.

When the referee immediately intervened, sending him off, it only made him angrier, as he sent the match official tumbling too.

Incredibly, the game in the third tier of Portugal's district league was just two minutes old and Goncalves maintains he was not the instigator of the brawl.

"I don't remember hitting him," he told SIC.  "He was pushing me.

"You are telling me it was a knee... maybe it was. If that's the case, I really want to apologise to the referee, his family and Rio Tinto.

"He [the opposition player] said to me: 'You son of a bitch, death to your mother!' And I asked: 'Huh?' I put my arm on him and he threw himself to the floor like a baby, crying.

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"The referee ran towards me out of nowhere and he pulls out the red card. I did not attack him, I did what I said. I was being insulted."

Canelas 2010 have reacted swiftly, revealing, via a statement on their official Facebook page, that Goncalves will never wear the jersey for the club again and that they support referee Jose Rodrigues.