Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo received a two-game ban Wednesday for kicking and slapping two opponents during Los Blancos 2-1 victory over Cordoba last weekend.
The reigning Ballon d’Or winner will miss this coming Saturday’s La Liga match against Real Sociedad and the next versus Sevilla on Feb. 4, making him available for Feb. 7’s crucial matchup against third-place Atletico Madrid.
Charging towards the Cordoba goal during a set piece and the match tied 1-1 in the 82nd minute, Ronaldo chased a free kick down only to slap and kick defenders Edimar and Crespo for his fifth booking of the year.
Neither player was hurt, but Edimar dropped to the ground to catch the eye of referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez.
Ronaldo was last banned for three games in January 2014 for a similar offense against Athletic Bilbao.
Ronaldo has dominated league play all term, scoring 28 goals and putting Madrid atop La Liga table throughout. But Los Blancos maintain only a one point lead over second-place Barcelona, and a loss in the next two matches before the showdown with Atletico Madrid could drop the Spanish giants.
With Ronaldo out, Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti could rely more on winger Gareth Bale, who’s second on the team with 10 goals including the winner against Cordoba, or Frenchman forward Karim Benzema.