Cristiano Ronaldo insists he did not mean to hurt Patrick Mtiliga after leaving the Malaga defender with a broken nose in an incident that saw the Portugal international sent off for the second time in less than two months for Real Madrid.
The world's most expensive player, who earlier in the match had scored both of Madrid's goals in their 2-0 win, also felt the dismissal was unjust.
Ronaldo was shown a straight red card in the 70th minute of the Primera Division encounter at the Bernabeu after his swinging elbow caught Mtiliga in the face as he tried to escape the attentions of the Denmark international.
Mtiliga left the pitch trying to stem the bleeding from his facial injury and was immediately replaced.
Ronaldo, who was also sent off against Almeria in December after picking up two late bookings, said after the game: "It was not my intention to injure Mtiliga. I'm very sad for what happened but calm.
"Those who understand football know that my intention is always to play the ball. I learned in England not to deceive the referees. This is not a red card here or in anywhere in the world and I'm not asking for protection. I've seen worse things in other games.
"I didn't mean to injure the lad. It was bad luck to hit him on the nose because he's only 1.70m and if he had been taller I would have struck his chest." The former Manchester United winger, as a minimum, will now sit at next week's testing trip to fifth-placed Deportivo La Coruna, where Madrid have not won in the league since the 1992/1993 season.