Bellingham on two-game ban: Refs’ body making ‘example’ of me

Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham hit out at his two-game suspension in LaLiga on Wednesday, calling it “a bit ridiculous” and claiming that “because I’m new [to the league], they want to make an example [of me].”

He was handed a two-game ban by the Spanish football federation (RFEF)’s disciplinary committee this week following his red card for protesting the referee’s decision to blow his whistle seconds before he found the net for a late winner in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Valencia.

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Bellingham, who provided an assist for Vinícius Júnior in Madrid’s 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig in the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday as they progressed 2-1 on aggregate, now will not appear again until March 31, unless the club are successful in an appeal.

“It’s difficult to talk about, because there’s appeals going on,” Bellingham told Movistar after the match. “All I can say is what happened, with the referee’s decision to blow the whistle. He’s human, but so am I.

“I didn’t say anything offensive. I feel like at times because I’m new, they want to make an example [of me], which I’m cool with. I have to take responsibility for my actions. I think two games is a bit ridiculous but if I have to miss those two games, I’ll support the team from the stands.”

The two-game ban would see Bellingham miss Madrid’s LaLiga games against Celta Vigo on Sunday and Osasuna on March 16.

Bellingham headed Brahim Diaz’s pass into the net in the 99th minute of Madrid’s game at Mestalla, with the game tied at 2-2, but referee Jesus Gil Manzano had blown the final whistle as Diaz shaped to cross.

Gil Manzano’s report said that he then sent Bellingham off for an “aggressive attitude” after “repeatedly” shouting “it’s a f—ing goal” in English.

The RFEF’s disciplinary committee found that Madrid had not provided sufficient evidence to prove beyond doubt that the referee’s assessment was mistaken.

Meanwhile, the case brought against Bellingham for allegedly calling Mason Greenwood “rapist” has been dismissed by the Spanish football federation due to a lack of evidence, sources have told ESPN.

Greenwood’s club Getafe had made a complaint to LaLiga after television images appeared to show Bellingham using the word during Madrid’s 2-0 win at Getafe on Feb. 1.

A professional lipreader was employed to examine the footage, but could not determine with certainty whether Bellingham had used the word.

British prosecutors dropped charges of rape and sexual assault against Greenwood in February 2023 after key witnesses withdrew their involvement in the case.

Bellingham has scored 16 goals in 22 league appearances this season, helping Madrid top the table.

His assist against Leipzig made it four goals and four assists in six Champions League games for Madrid.