Real Madrid's French coach, Zinedine Zidane, on Tuesday lost his famous smile and harshly criticised the five-match ban imposed on his side's star forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Spain's football federation imposed the ban on Ronaldo for lightly pushing the referee after being shown a red card during Real Madrid's 1-3 away win at FC Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup, reports Efe news agency.
"I am and we are very upset. I'm not going to get involved with the referees but, after what happened, to think that he'll not play for five games, makes you think that something isn't right," Zidane said in the press conference preceding the Super Cup's second leg.
"It's too long for him. I've been very clear in my response. What happened happened, but when you look at the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo has got five matches, you have to admit that it's a lot," he added.
Former Real Madrid player Zidane had never addressed a press conference with such a somber mien: throughout the press conference, he never smiled and sported a furrowed brow.
The 45-year old coach said Ronaldo's ban was excessive in light of what actually went down, and asked the Federation's Appeals Committee to reconsider the sanction.
"I don't interfere with the work of the referee, we can all make mistakes, but it's annoying that he's got five games after what happened," Zidane added.
Zidane also warned his players of the danger Barcelona can represent in the second leg, despite their defeat 1-3 in the first leg.
"Anything is possible. In football nothing is certain. We'll have to play very well because Barcelona can cause you problems at any time. In the first leg, they had chances so we'll have to play well. We did well in the first leg, but we have to play the whole tie until the end," he said.
The coach also talked about young midfielder Marco Asensio, who scored a spectacular goal against Barcelona.
"He's working very well, like the whole group. We all want to work well. We'll have a lot of different games and come up against different teams throughout the year. We prepare so that when a player plays, he does well," he added.
(With IANS Inputs).