The sent-off Luka Modric insists his stamp on Denis Suarez was an “accidental action” after becoming the first victim of La Liga’s new rules.
While Real emerged 3-1 victors in Balaidos for their La Liga opener, Modric’s Saturday evening was spoilt by a red card.
The referee’s decision to dismiss the Ballon d’Or winner came about after he stomped on Suarez early in the second half. Upon consulting VAR, the official immediately made Modric the first player to get a red card in the new league season.
The Croatia international also became the first victim of La Liga’s new regulations for the new campaign. While normally he would have got a caution for stamping on Suarez, protecting the Achilles tendon is a high priority for the Spanish league.
Therefore, Modric got the second red card of his Los Blancos career despite not intentionally fouling Suarez. The last time he saw red came in a UEFA Super Cup clash with Atletico Madrid in 2014.
“Sent off for an accidental action,” he wrote on Twitter.
“In life, I would never intentionally make such an action on a player. Totally involuntary!”
Even without Modric, however, Real still managed to build on from Karim Benzema’s early opener to score two second-half goals from Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez.
But skipper Sergio Ramos later made headlines by defending the referee’s call to dismiss team-mate Modric.
“Everything used to protect football is good,” said the Spaniard.
“Today the decision was against us. We ended up with one less man, I don’t think Modric went in with bad intention but he arrived late and the referee had doubts.
“He spoke to the other officials and reached that decision. VAR’s there to help us and if these decisions protect football then they are welcome.”