Atletico Madrid are likely to appeal the eight-match handed down to striker Diego Costa on Thursday.
Costa received a red card after a confrontation with referee Gil Manzano during Atletico’s 2-0 loss to Barcelona last weekend, during which he directed crude remarks at the referee and, according to Manzano’s match report, “grabbed” the Spanish official by the arms.
The length of the ban would see Costa miss the rest of the season, with only seven games left in La Liga and Atletico having been knocked out of the Copa del Rey.
It’s bad news,” Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said on Thursday. “The natural thing is for us to appeal, to ask for leniency and see what happens.
There are players who are very temperamental. Insults should never happen on the football field but there are times when they do happen.
Costa has also received a fine of £5,100, while the Spanish football federation (RFEF) also levied a fine on the club, of £2,400.
Despite the striker’s 28th-minute sending off, Atletico managed to keep the game at 0-0 until the 85th minute, before late goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi saw Barcelona win 2-0 and effectively end the title race, with the win giving La Blaugrana an 11-point lead over second-place Atletico.