Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric was shown a straight red card for the first time in his career, after a VAR decision adjudged the Croatian to have ran afoul of new La Liga rules governing tackles to the achilles tendon.
Modric was issued with his marching orders just before the hour mark after he mistimed a tackle and raked his studs down the achilles of Celta Vigo’s summer import Denis Suarez.
Referee Estrada Fernández consulted with a pitchside monitor after being notified by VAR officials as to the potential serious nature of the foul, before sending the Croatian to the sidelines.
🎙️ Denis Suarez [Celta player]: “Modric apologized to me and told me that it was unintentional.”
— Real Madrid Info (@RMadridInfo) August 17, 2019
The referee’s decision comes as La Liga introduced harsher recommendations for incidents involving fouls on the achilles tendon and have introduced a ‘zero tolerance’ policy in an attempt to stamp challenges such as this out of the game.
The increased sanctions comes as studies into injury frequency suggest that achilles injuries are among the most common currently in football.
However, it would appear that these rules have not been effectively communicated to Spanish football fans – many of whom took to Twitter to express their feelings that the referee acted harshly in sending the playmaker off.
I’m sorry but what did Luka Modric do to get a red card? Like… what is Luka Modric capable of to receive A RED CARD for? Did he kill somebody? This is the only reason I could see for red carding Croatian sunshine.
— October Aeowyn (@OctoberAeowyn) August 17, 2019
Modric will win that appeal. That was a bullshit red card. Yellow? Yes
— Tony (@TonyG916) August 17, 2019
Yea it was a late tackle …but I’m stil amazed at the VAR induced red card for Modric .
— *IfE* (@ifeduyile) August 17, 2019
Bogus red card on modric and VAR looked at it too it’s okay kroos just scored a screamer to put us up 2-0
— Diego Huitron (@Diegoh_XO) August 17, 2019
Despite Modric’s dismissal Zidane’s Madrid won out in the away clash with Celta Vigo with relative ease. Karim Benzema gave them an early lead which was doubled a Toni Kroos thunderbolt just five minutes after the red card which had threatened to destabilize Real Madrid’s superiority.
Lucas Vasquez added a third on 80 minutes, while Celta Vigo claimed a consolation through Iker Losada Aragunde. Real Madrid’s big money signing Eden Hazard was ruled out of making his debut for the club this week after picking up a hamstring injury but Serbian frontman Luka Jovic was drafted in to make his first appearance off the bench. Wantaway Welshman Gareth Bale, meanwhile, was named in the starting lineup.
The win marks the first time in 27 months that Real Madrid have been ahead of Barcelona in the La Liga standings, after Barcelona dropped their opening fixture in a surprise defeat to Athletic Bilbao.