Cristiano Ronaldo suffered an ankle sprain in the ill-tempered El Clasico match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Camp Nou Sunday night.
He suffered the sprain, following a challenge by Barcelona’s Gerard Pique, while tapping in the equaliser for Madrid in the first half. He still endured 31 minutes of play, before Real’s coach Zinedine Zidane substituted him at half-time.
Now Real will be hoping their star striker can recover in time for the Champions League final against Liverpool on May 26.
The match with eight yellow cards and one red card, had Luis Suarez volleying the first goal for Barcelona in the 10th minute.
But Ronaldo tapped in for Madrid’s equaliser in the 14th minute.A turning point came in the extra-time of the first half when Sergi Roberto was sent off for appearing to slap Real defender Marcelo.
With Barcelona reduced to 10 men, in the second half, Lionel Messi weaved his magic to keep Barcelona ahead seven minutes on resumption.
Ronaldo, Messi during the ill-tempered match
The goal was a brilliant solo effort by Messi. But he did not have the last word as Gareth Bale, replied with a sublime, sweetly struck equaliser in the 72nd minute.
The draw meant the Catalans are now three matches away from becoming the first team ever to finish a 38-game La Liga season unbeaten.
Andres Iniesta overcame, or perhaps ignored, a niggling calf problem to play his 38th and final Clasico while Philippe Coutinho was picked to start his first. Iniesta went off to a standing ovation in the second half.
Barca exploded out of the blocks and they were ahead within 10 minutes. Suarez swept the ball out to the right where Sergi drove forward, ignored Messi’s run to the near post, and returned the cross deep to Suarez. He finished into the bottom corner.
The lead, however, lasted four minutes. Just as Suarez initiated his goal, so did Ronaldo, a neat backheel freeing Toni Kroos, who found Karim Benzema at the back post. The Frenchman was cool enough to head back into the six-yard box, where Ronaldo bundled home.
Pique’s last-ditch attempt had been robust enough to hurt the Portugese, who stayed down as Barca attempted to kick off. Ronaldo took treatment but was able temporarily to continue.
Real dictated the rest of the half and Ronaldo could twice have given them the lead. His first shot was saved by Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, the second fired wide of the far post.
In between, Messi had played in Jordi Alba with a sumptuous ball over the top but even he lost his cool during five mad minutes at the end of the first period.
Suarez felt he had been elbowed by Sergio Ramos, prompting the first round of scuffles, before Messi was booked for flying into the defender on the touchline.
Bale was then lucky not to be sent off for stabbing his studs into Samuel Umtiti’s calf and moments later Sergi did see red, as he threw an arm into the face of Marcelo.
The home fans were raging as the half-time whistle blew but, with Marco Asensio on for Ronaldo, they were celebrating eight minutes after the restart.
Suarez’s blatant kick on Raphael Varane went unpunished and from there it was all about Messi. He skipped away first from Ramos, and then Casemiro, before firing into the bottom corner.
Even Zidane was smiling on the touchline.
Iniesta went off just before the hour and Messi could have put Barca out of sight soon after. He sped away from Varane but his shot was parried away by Keylor Navas.
Real tried to make the most of their one-man advantage but in truth, they had been far more assertive 11 against 11.
Instead, their goal in the 72nd minute came out of the blue as Bale raced onto Asensio’s pass and whipped the ball first-time into the top corner. It was the Welshman’s 15th goal in 24 matches this year.
Real should have had a late penalty when Alba cleared out Marcelo but referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez somehow decided the challenge was clean. It was the final controversy of a surprisingly heated derby.