The Barcelona-Girona LaLiga match on Saturday saw a situation bordering on the hilarious. Luis Suárez, who thanks to the kindness of the referees and assistant referees came into the game on just four yellow cards, was trying desperately to pick up his fifth. He was aiming, of course, to be suspended for the trip to Las Palmas on Thursday, in order to have his slate wiped clean for the far more important Barcelona-Atlético match on Sunday. The Uruguayan did everything he could, but Alberola Rojas didn’t take pity on him, refusing to put him in the book. He did take pity on Jordi Alba, who was in the same situation, needing his fifth yellow, and got it. His success was in stark contrast to Luis Suárez’s failure, whose perseverance drew a blank.
Poetic justice for Suárez
So now Valverde has a decision to make: will he play him against Las Palmas or not? Either way, what happened to Luis Suárez on Sunday represents a certain footballing poetic justice. For those of us who watch a lot of football every week (and that’s a lot of us) there is no other player who gets away with protesting so much. His dissent is continuous, exaggerated and unpleasant. Yet despite his persistent complaining, he’s not high up the table of bookings. There are already six players who have been through two cycles of five yellow cards and another 99 who have completed one. Luis Suárez is on just four bookings and I think it’s fair enough that, having been let off with so many beforehand, the referee didn’t give him this one he was so keen to get.
Ramos gets battered with cards
Not long ago, a friend of mine who isn’t a big fan of Real Madrid, said to me on the basis of some piece of play that Sergio Ramos has a ‘pardon from the Pope’. I checked and discovered that Sergio Ramos has picked up the most cards in Europe… when he plays for Real Madrid. With Spain it’s not nearly as bad. It’s always worth checking the facts, so we don’t get led astray by the most recent incident, allied to our own enjoyment or dislike of the player in question. Sergio Ramos gets battered with cards, just as Hierro did before him, while no matter how much Luis Suárez deserves them he struggles to get them, even when he’s desperate to pick one up, just as happened on Saturday against Girona.