Queiroz: Anyone but Ronaldo (or Messi) shown red for elbow

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Carlos Queiroz, who’s Portuguese but just so happened to be the manager of Iran, believes his team was cheated after Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t shown a red card during the two nations’ dramatic Group B finale at the 2018 World Cup on Monday.

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Ronaldo, who was already suffering through a pretty poor performance (by his lofty standards, as he entered his third game of the tournament with four goals following a hat trick against Spain and a single tally against Morocco) after missing a second-half penalty kick, when he appeared to throw, and connect with, an elbow at Morteza Pouraliganji in the 83rd minute. Referee Enrique Caceres initiated a video review of the incident, and decided it was only yellow card-worthy.

Queiroz, understandably and predictably, was left fuming at the decision following the full-time whistle. In his mind, any other player in the world (sans perhaps Lionel Messi) would be sent off for what is, pretty clearly, violent conduct.

Feel free to point to the fault in Queiroz’s logic, but I wish you the very best of luck in doing so. Queiroz and Ronaldo, of course, were quite close once upon a time — Queiroz played a role in Ronaldo’s move to Manchester United, where he became his assistant coach and something of a father figure, then again when Queiroz became Portugal’s manager for the 2010 World Cup.

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If he made contact with the player, it’s a red card; if he attempts to elbow him and misses, it’s still violent conduct and a red card; if he deems it wasn’t intentional, it’s no card at all. At no point in the series of questions and answers does a yellow card come into play.

In the end, Portugal have advanced to the round of 16 by the narrowest of margins — at Iran’s expense — thus Ronaldo’s impossible dream of winning the Champions League, followed by the European Championships, followed by the Champions League twice more, capped off by the World Cup — all in succession — remains alive.