Here’s the Greg Louganis-like dive from Atletico Madrid captain Gabriel Fernandez Arenas, aka Gabi, that got Cristiano Ronaldo a straight red yesterday during the Copa Del Rey final:
What’s your verdict? Later on in the match there was an even better angle that showed Ronaldo never touched him. It is said that Gabi was bleeding, but that isn’t evident in this video. Others have made the assertion that Ronaldo’s intent was what got him sent off, meaning that because he meant to kick an opponent in the face, he should have seen red even if he didn’t actually make contact with Gabi. Nonsense. Where they can keep from it, a referee can’t adjudicate intent, and he shouldn’t take an assistant’s word regarding the awarding of a straight red for something that didn’t really happen. There’s no defense for Gabi on this. This sort of nonsense is the most frequently cited aspect of football by non-football fans as to why they don’t get more into the sport.
Courtois going to ground is actually more intriguing. You can see that he has some words with someone, presumably some fans, behind his goal. Upon turning back to the pitch, he immediately grabs his head and hits the deck, apparently struck by a thrown object. The only aspect of this that gets us wondering is where he is standing when he gets hit. He’s pretty close to the goal, so anything thrown by an idiot fan would have to miss the crossbar, possibly miss the right post, come in at an angle so that it slopes sharply downward, and also slip perfectly through the holes in the net to hit Courtois. That….is one magic lighter.
After he falls, you can see an object land near him, thrown after he had already gone down, providing at least a little proof that he was indeed being pelted. We’re willing to give Courtois the benefit of the doubt on this, because it’s easily evident that he was under fire, and the camera is too far from the incident to say with certainty that nothing was thrown. Still, as for the guy who threw the object that felled Courtois: yeah, he’s an idiot for throwing something during a match, but perhaps the New York Yankees should sign this dolt, or maybe he should be called up to the England Cricket side. If you can throw a perfect strike with a 5-ounce lighter from 150 feet, get it by the crossbar, through the net, and score a cranial hit, you may be a complete tool, but you’ve got serious skills.