Video: Cristiano Ronaldo escapes red card for blatant kick on Sporting Gijon player
Published 18/01/2016 | 14:56
Cristiano Ronaldo went unpunished for kicking out at an opponent while his Real Madrid side led 5-0 on Sunday, but protested he didn't mean it.
The Portugal international is unlikely to face any retrospective punishment for the incident in which he lashed out at Nacho Cases after being blocked off by the Sporting Gijon player.
Ronaldo said after the game: "It was instinctive. They could have shown me a yellow card.
"If I kicked him on purpose he would not have got up. I shouldn't have done it.
Although Ronaldo scored twice in the demolition of Sporting, he was clearly still not in the happiest frame of mind as he tried to play a one-two around Cases early in the second half with the score already at 5-0.
Ronaldo has already hit 27 goals this season but has failed to score in half of the games he has played for Real Madrid, and is yet to score one of his trademark free-kicks for the club this season.
The latter fact has not been lost on rival supporters.
Ronaldo also lost another Ballon d'Or trophy to arch-rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona last week.
Messi has now won that trophy, traditionally awarded to the player widely regarded as the best in the world over a calendar year, five times to Ronaldo's three.
2016 may hold greater glory for Ronaldo, but if he continues his preference for putting his boot up the opposition then the former Manchester United forward may not be on the pitch often enough to make a telling difference.
He certainly has form for losing his temper, both when he's got away with it and when he's been punished.