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Nacho hit with three-game ban for Portu tackle

Real Madrid will be spread very thin in defense

Girona FC v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez has been handed a three-game suspension by the Competition Committee for his reckless challenge on Girona winger Cristian Portu in the final minutes of their LaLiga match on Saturday.

Nacho, who was wearing the captain’s armband, lunged at Portu with his studs up and caught him on the ankle, leaving the Girona player in agony and needing a stretcher to leave the field. The referee initially showed Nacho a yellow card, but changed it to a red after consulting the VAR.

Nacho later apologised to Portu on social media and also called him personally to express his regret. Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and president Florentino Perez also contacted Portu to apologise for the incident and wish him a speedy recovery.

The Competition Committee decided to sanction Nacho with a three-game ban, taking into account the severity of the injury and the intentionality of the foul. Nacho will miss Real Madrid’s upcoming LaLiga games against Osasuna, Sevilla and Barcelona. He will be available for the Champions League clash against Napoli on Wednesday, as his suspension only applies to domestic competitions.

Nacho’s absence is a major blow for Real Madrid, who are already short of options in central defence. David Alaba is recovering from a muscle injury and Eder Militao is virtually out for the season with an ACL injury. That leaves only Antonio Rudiger as a fit centre-back for Ancelotti for the game against Osasuna, while Alaba should be back after the international break for the other two matches.

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