Ex-Premier League referee Graham Poll has slammed the decision to ban Cristiano Ronaldo for five games, believing 12 would have been more fitting.
Writing in a column for the Daily Mail, the 54-year-old highlighted the Portuguese star’s ‘responsibility’ and underlined the importance of protecting referees.
“In the circumstances, I am disappointed he hasn't been hit with the heaviest sanction possible — 12 matches,” wrote Poll.
“He has got away lightly with a five-match ban for assaulting match official Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea.
“Rather than appeal against the second yellow (as is permitted in Spain, but thankfully not in England), Madrid's management should tell Ronaldo to stop collecting cautions for removing his shirt. Yes, we all know he looks wonderful, but we don't need reminding every week.
“It also leaves him susceptible to a soft second yellow. Footballers from the Premier League down must understand that touching, pushing or striking a match official is unacceptable and a five-match ban does not help. “
Most famous for a high-profile gaffe in the 2006 World Cup when he mistakenly issued three yellow cards to Croatian Josip Simunic before sending him off, Poll also criticised Las Palmas striker Marko Livaja receiving only a four-game ban for a similar incident.
“Youngsters all over the world watch and copy Ronaldo,” Poll concluded.
“Such a high-profile player must be shown that he needs to be a good role model.”