Barcelona will be without star striker Robert Lewandowski for three crucial fixtures when they return from the World Cup, after the Polish striker was hit with a three-game ban by the Spanish authorities.
Lewandowski was shown two yellows against Osasuna in Barcelona’s final match before the break for the World Cup. As he walked off the pitch, Lewandowski was seen rubbing his nose with his index finger and then pointing back at the referee as he walked off.
In the referee’s report, this was recorded as multiple gestures of disapproval towards the referee, while many have pointed out that the gesture means arrogant in Germany. Lewandowski himself has since denied that he was doing anything of the sort, saying that the gestures were directed towards manager Xavi Hernandez. Lewandowski would have received at least a one-game ban anyway, but two have been added on for his perceived disregard towards the referee.
He will miss matches against Espanyol, Atletico Madrid and Real Betis as a result, meaning a tricky run lies ahead for Barcelona. Gerard Pique was also served with a four-game ban, but will not serve it due to his retirement, as per Mundo Deportivo.
The controversy in Spain will no doubt surround the treatment of Lewandowski compared to his counterparts at Real Madrid. Their players, and in particular manager Carlo Ancelotti, have cast doubt on referees vociferously in recent weeks, but so far have escaped punishment.