Ronaldo banned for three league games

Recently crowned Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo will miss Real Madrid's next three league games after being sent-off in his side's 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

The score was already tied at 1-1 when Ronaldo was shown the eighth red card of his career after clashing with Athletic midfielder Ander Iturraspe 15 minutes from time.

The Spanish Football Federation handed the Portuguese the normal one game ban for a straight red card, but also added an extra two games for a gesture of dissent Ronaldo made as he left the field.

Madrid still have the option to appeal the ban, but, should it be upheld, Ronaldo will be ruled out of the La Liga fixtures against Villarreal, Getafe and Elche.

However, the former Manchester United man will be free to take part in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final, first leg at home to Atletico Madrid as the suspension only applies to league fixtures.

Atletico currently lead La Liga by three points from both Madrid and Barcelona, who are locked on 54 points with 16 games still to go.Meanwhile, Gareth Bale has not recovered sufficiently from a calf problem and is out of the first leg of Real Madrid's King's Cup semi-final at home to holders Atletico later on Wednesday, Cadena Ser radio reported.

The Wales winger was included in the squad for the game at the Bernabeu after missing Real's last two matches and coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday he would be available.

Cadena Ser, without identifying the source of its information, said Bale had not shaken off the injury and had been released from the squad.

A Real spokeswoman could not immediately confirm the report.

Bale's debut season in Spain has been disrupted by a series of minor injuries after the 24-year-old joined from Tottenham Hotspur for a world record fee of 100 million euros ($135 million).

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