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Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro appeared to ask Carlo Ancelotti whether to try and get a yellow card last night, with the footage caught on camera.
The 13-time European champions beat Sheriff 3-0 away from home, with David Alaba, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema all on target in the routine victory.
But a controversial moment happened straight after the third goal went in when Casemiro was not prominent in the celebrations.
Instead, he was straight over to Ancelotti on the touchline with a smirk on his face and his hand cupped. It seems as though the Brazilian was wondering if his manager wanted him to get booked deliberately.
Ancelotti shook his head and mouthed, "No".
Casemiro : "should I get a yellow card so that I miss the match against Inter and go to R-16 clean?"— Rk (@RkFutbol) November 25, 2021
Casemiro asking Ancelotti if he should purposely receive a yellow card dcml 😭😭— 𝙊𝙢𝙖𝙧🪐 (@casomar0) November 24, 2021
Casemiro was one yellow card away from suspension and would have been banned for the final group stage matchday against Inter Milan.
However, bookings refresh for the knockout stages and so Casemiro would have been available for the round of 16 fixture.
Casemiro was substituted for Antonio Blanco six minutes before time in the Group D clash.
Of course Ancelotti didn't admit to it and said Casemiro had asked to be substituted off but suspicions were already raised.
So, what happened with Casemiro, Ancelotti and the possible yellow card suspension in Tiraspol?— Euan McTear (@emctear) November 25, 2021
A quick thread on a curious exchange 👇
1. Going into Matchday 5, Casemiro was the only Real Madrid player on 2 yellows already. A 3rd brings a suspension for the next game. pic.twitter.com/c5Y8WNsnLb— Euan McTear (@emctear) November 25, 2021
2. Real Madrid know they can seal qualification with a round to spare if they beat Sheriff. When Benzema's 3rd goal goes in, they know they're going through.— Euan McTear (@emctear) November 25, 2021
3. This is the players celebrating Benzema's goal. There's 9 in shot. 7 in the huddle (Rodrygo's there, he's just small) and Carvajal and Modric arriving. Only Courtois and Casemiro aren't there. So where's Casemiro? pic.twitter.com/caRNWk1k8Z— Euan McTear (@emctear) November 25, 2021
4. Well, he immediately runs over to Ancelotti. And they have this exchange.— Euan McTear (@emctear) November 25, 2021
Casemiro is smirking and asking something to Ancelotti, to which Ancelotti shakes his head and clearly says "no".pic.twitter.com/AYVUN2u4VU
5. 99%, Casemiro is asking Ancelotti if he should deliberately get a yellow so that he only misses the group-winner-determining Inter game and not a later knockout match.— Euan McTear (@emctear) November 25, 2021
6. But, Ancelotti later says this in the press conference: "He told me he was one booking away from suspension and didn’t want to risk collecting that yellow. He asked if I could take him off. I waited a little, then took him off to avoid that suspension coming against Inter.”— Euan McTear (@emctear) November 25, 2021
7. Pretty sure Ancelotti just flat out lied there, but the coach 100% does the right thing. Real Madrid been caught out for deliberate wipe-the-slate-clean yellows in the past (Carvajal, Ramos) and Ancelotti knows it'd be too obvious, specially after Case came right over to him.— Euan McTear (@emctear) November 25, 2021
8. That might also explain why Ancelotti did sub Casemiro off shortly afterwards. The coach says it was to avoid a yellow and have him vs Inter. But Ancelotti knows that if Case gets a yellow, even unintentionally, UEFA may review it because Case was so brazen about discussing it— Euan McTear (@emctear) November 25, 2021
9. Maybe Casemiro could have unsuspiciously got that yellow if he hadn't been so obvious about discussing it right in the open with his coach after scoring a goal that basically clinches the win. Credit for Ancelotti for managing that awkward situation well.— Euan McTear (@emctear) November 25, 2021
This wouldn't be the time Real have been involved in this type of scenario. Back in November 2010, Jose Mourinho instructed both Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos to get a second yellow card in a 4-0 win over Ajax.
Alonso was the first go go. Already on a booking, he purposely took an absolute age to take a free-kick and was given his marching orders.
Then, Ramos decided to take one of Iker Casillas' goal-kicks and he too was guilty of time-wasting - leading to a second yellow and subsequent dismissal.
He shook the hand of referee Craig Thomson to almost thank him for the red card.
Mourinho received a touchline ban, the red cards stood, and there were a number of fines handed out.
Nine years later, Ramos was up to his old tricks against Ajax. He clattered Kasper Dolberg very blatantly and got himself in the book for the 38th time in the Champions League.
'87: Asensio puts Real ahead— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 13, 2019
'89: Sergio Ramos yellow, will miss second leg
"That is very obvious that he was looking to get booked there."
Master of the Dark Arts? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/X6bfp6lKsb
He was one yellow away from European suspension and because video footage showed his antics, Ramos was hit with a two-game UEFA ban for "forcing a yellow card".
It backfired too as Ramos watched Real succumb to a 4-1 hammering in the second leg.