The impact of Cristiano Ronaldo's red card against Athletic Bilbao has made Carlos Gurpegi's week one of the toughest in his career.
Bilbao midfielder Gurpegi confronted Real Madrid forward Ronaldo during the Liga clash on February 2 and the Portugal international slapped the 29-year-old, leading to him being dismissed by referee Miguel Ayza.
Real's appeal against the decision was rejected and Ronaldo is currently serving a three-match ban.
While a lot of the focus has been on Ronaldo it has not been an easy week for Gurpegi either, after he came in for criticism for the manner in which he went to ground following the altercation during the 1-1 draw.
"I left the game satisfied to have held Real Madrid, but I was not aware of what was going to happen next," he told Marca. "And that was a point of concern.
"Cristiano called out (for a penalty) and I tell him it was not and I push him a little in the chest.
"That is when he touched my face and I fell.
"My reaction was to go to the ground, without any intention for the referee to eject him without previous provocation.
"The easy thing would have been to thrown on the floor, but I think I'm a noble person.
"I'm not the boy of 22 who tested positive (Gurpegi was banned for two years for testing positive to nandrolone in 2003).
"I have a family and a daughter and it hurts me that things that are said about me come to her ears."
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti revealed on Monday that he has still not given up hope of Ronaldo's ban being overturned.
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