Ronaldo's red cards: how many red cards does Cr7 have?

Ronaldo's red cards: how many red cards does Cr7 have?

Kenneth Mwenda
February 16, 2024 at 10:46 AM
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Ronaldo's red cards have often been a discussion among football enthusiasts. Over the years, he has faced several dismissals for various reasons, illustrating his intense passion and occasional frustration on the pitch. Each instance where he has been sent off tells a unique part of his illustrious career, highlighting both challenging and triumphant moments.

Ronaldo red cards
Ronaldo has been shown the red card more than 10 times throughout his career. Photos: David Ramos, Alex Caparros (Modified by editor)
Source: Getty Images

Despite these occasional disciplinary issues, Ronaldo's exceptional skill and commitment to the sport are unquestionable. This list is compiled based on historical data and incidents up to February 2024, reflecting on Ronaldo's journey through the lens of his red card incidents.

How many red cards does Cristiano Ronaldo have?

Throughout his illustrious career spanning Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, and his time with the Portugal national team, Ronaldo has received a total of 11 red cards. Here is a breakdown of all of Cristiano Ronaldo's red cards in his career in a table format:




May 15, 2004

Aston Villa vs. Manchester United

Premier League

January 14, 2006

Manchester City vs. Manchester United

Premier League

August 15, 2007

Portsmouth vs. Manchester United

Premier League

November 30, 2008

Manchester City vs. Manchester United

Premier League

December 5, 2009

Real Madrid vs. Almeria

La Liga

January 24, 2010

Real Madrid vs. Malaga

La Liga

May 17, 2013

Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid

Copa del Rey Final

February 2, 2014

Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Madrid

La Liga

January 24, 2015

Cordoba vs. Real Madrid

La Liga

August 13, 2017

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

Supercopa de España

September 19, 2018

Valencia vs. Juventus

UEFA Champions League

Rondaldo red card
Ronaldo (L) shown the red card by Steve Bennett in January 2006. Photos: John Peters, Quality Sport Images. (Modified by editor)
Source: Getty Images

Manchester United (4 red cards)

Transitioning from his unblemished start at Sporting CP to the high-intensity football of the English Premier League, Cristiano Ronaldo's tenure at Manchester United marked a significant period of development, both in his professional skills and understanding of the game's discipline. During his time with the Red Devils, Cristiano accumulated four red cards. Here are the incidents:

1. Aston Villa vs. Manchester United (2004)

Ronaldo swiftly made his mark in the 2004 Aston Villa game, scoring Manchester United's opening goal within three minutes, but his game ended prematurely with a second yellow card for unsportingly chipping the ball over Sorensen after being flagged offside.

His early brilliance was marred by a first-half booking for diving, a decision questioned by replay evidence, and continued aggression that saw Darren Fletcher also receive a red card, leaving United with nine men. Despite these setbacks, United managed to maintain their 2-0 lead, securing victory without any further drama.

2. Manchester City vs. Manchester United (2006)

Cristiano Ronaldo being sent off by referee Steve Bennett
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United is sent off by referee Steve Bennett during the Barclays match against Manchester City on January 14 2006 in Manchester, England. Photo: Matthew Peters
Source: Getty Images

The first direct red card in the career of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner occurred during a 3-1 loss to Manchester City in January 2006, when Ronaldo, in response to Stephen Jordan's unpunished late challenge, committed a high tackle on ex-United player Andy Cole.

Despite United's efforts to overturn the suspension, the FA upheld the decision, sidelining Ronaldo for three games. Post-match, Sir Alex Ferguson contested the decision, suggesting the referee review the incident, asserting Ronaldo had not made contact:

"The referee's decided it is a red card, and I think he should look at it again, really. He has not touched the player; he has not got near him."

3. Portsmouth vs. Manchester United (2007)

As the match approached its conclusion with the score tied at 1-1, Ronaldo's frustration peaked, leading to what seemed like a headbutt on Portsmouth midfielder Richard Hughes. This occurred directly in view of referee Steve Bennett, who immediately issued a red card to the then 22-year-old Ronaldo for his conduct.

4. Manchester City vs. Manchester United (2008)

Nearly three years after his previous dismissal, Cristiano faced another red card incident in November 2008, again during a clash with Manchester City. Having already been booked for a cynical foul on Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ronaldo again committed a handball on a corner kick from Wayne Rooney.

Despite Rooney's goal securing a 1-0 victory for United, Ronaldo was visibly upset about being sent off early from the Etihad for the second time. Cristiano Ronaldo openly criticized referee Howard Webb for his red card, arguing that the referee, often regarded as one of the Premier League's finest, dismissed his explanation for the handball that resulted in his sending-off.

Real Madrid (6 red cards)

Cristiano Ronaldo during a Spanish league football match
Cristiano Ronaldo during the Spanish league football match, Athletic Bilbao against Real Madrid at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao, on May 2, 2012. Photo: Rafa Rivas
Source: Getty Images

At Real Madrid, Ronaldo's pursuit of glory was marked by breathtaking goals, numerous titles, and a passionate dedication that occasionally crossed the disciplinary line, leading to six red cards. This period in Spain was characterized by Ronaldo's fiery desire to triumph, a trait that sometimes led to moments of heated confrontation on the pitch:

1. Real Madrid vs. Almeria (2009)

In his debut season with Real Madrid, Ronaldo experienced his first red card for the club during a challenging home match against Almeria. Coming off a two-month injury hiatus and a recent 1-0 loss to Barcelona, Ronaldo and Madrid were trailing 2-1 to the dismay of the Bernabeu crowd.

Ronaldo's equalizing penalty was thwarted by Almeria's Diego Alves, but he later scored, making it 4-2, and received a yellow card for his spirited celebration of removing his jersey. His evening ended prematurely with a second yellow after a kick at Almeria's Juanma Ortiz, who had been closely guarding him throughout the match.

2. Real Madrid vs. Malaga (2010)

Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the pitch after receiving a red card
Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the pitch after being sent off during the match between Real Madrid and Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on January 24, 2010, in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Denis Doyle
Source: Getty Images

Just six weeks following his previous dismissal, Ronaldo was shown a straight red card for elbowing Malaga's Patrick Jan Mtiliga during a match at the Bernabeu. Before the incident, Ronaldo had netted both goals for his team, including an impressive volley, establishing a 2-0 lead.

However, in an overzealous moment with the victory seemingly in hand, he inadvertently struck Mtiliga in the face, causing a nose fracture that led to Mtiliga's substitution due to bleeding. Demonstrating sportsmanship, Ronaldo visited the Malaga dressing room post-match to offer his apologies, although he also expressed his views on the incident to reporters:

"In England, I learned a lot because I used to dive before, but now I get a bit angry when players do things like this. Maybe in the images, you see blood, but anyone who understands football knows it was not a red card. It was bad luck as the Malaga kid is only 5-foot-6; if he was taller, I would have caught him in the chest."

3. Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid (2013)

Ronaldo received another red card, a direct dismissal, during the 2013 Copa del Rey final against Atletico Madrid at the Bernabeu for a high kick that struck Atletico's captain, Gabi, in the face. The incident occurred as Atletico maintained a 2-1 advantage in the dying moments of extra time, following a harsh tackle by Gabi on Ronaldo, who, in an attempt to regain balance, inadvertently hit Gabi.

This action led to a brawl on the pitch, further escalated when Atletico's goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was struck by an object from the crowd. Ronaldo's resulting suspension saw him miss two matches in the following season's Copa del Rey, sidelining him for both legs of a victory against Olimpic de Xativa.

4. Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Madrid (2014)

In February, Ronaldo was again sent off with a straight red during a clash with Athletic Bilbao's Carlos Gurpegi and Ander Iturraspe at San Mames. During a tense moment as both teams prepared for a set-piece with the game tied at 1-1 and only 20 minutes left, a skirmish ensued.

Referee Miguel Angel Ayza Gamez reported that Ronaldo had struck an opponent in the face, leading to his dismissal. Additionally, Ronaldo's slapping himself on the cheek while exiting the pitch was interpreted as a sign of disrespect towards the officials, resulting in an additional two-game suspension, as noted in the official match report.

5. Cordoba vs. Real Madrid (2015)

Cristiano Ronaldo being handed a red card
Cristiano Ronaldo (L) is handed a red card during the Spanish league football match against Cordoba CF at the Nuevo Arcangel stadium on January 24, 2015. Photo: Cristina Quicler
Source: Getty Images

During a tense match against Cordoba, with Real Madrid's season hanging in the balance and the score tied at 1-1, Ronaldo lashed out in frustration in the 84th minute. After failing to connect with a Toni Kroos free-kick, he kicked out at Edimar, his marker, and subsequently pushed Jose Angel Crespo, Cordoba's centre-back, in the face amidst the ensuing scuffle.

His departure from the pitch was marked by defiance; in response to jeers from the home supporters, Ronaldo prominently displayed the "World Club champions" badge on his jersey, a gesture that underscored his frustration and the high tensions of the match.

6. Real Madrid vs. Barcelona (2017)

Cristiano Ronaldo's red card during the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona on August 13, 2017, was a moment marked by controversy and drama. After scoring a brilliant goal and receiving a yellow card for his shirtless celebration, Ronaldo was soon after sent off for what was deemed a dive in the penalty area.

Cristiano's frustration led to a brief push on the referee, escalating the incident's severity. This event at Camp Nou highlighted the intense rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona, sparking widespread debate over refereeing decisions in football.


Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after getting a red card during the match between Valencia and Juventus
Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after getting a red card during the match between Valencia and Juventus at Estadio Mestalla on September 19, 2018, in Valencia, Spain. Photo: Daniele Badolato
Source: Getty Images

In a highly anticipated UEFA Champions League match between Juventus and Valencia on September 19, 2018, Cristiano received his first red card in the competition, marking a controversial moment in his debut season with the Italian club. The incident occurred when Ronaldo was involved in a clash with Valencia's Jeison Murillo, where he appeared to pull the defender's hair during a tussle for position.

The decision to send Cristiano off, made by the referee with the assistance of his linesman, left Ronaldo visibly distraught, shedding tears as he made his way off the pitch. This red card not only sparked debates over the use of VAR and the consistency of refereeing decisions but also overshadowed Ronaldo's much-anticipated return to Spain, where he sought to make a strong impact with his new team.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi: who has more red cards?

When comparing Cristiano Ronaldo's red cards with Lionel Messi's, the contrast is stark. Messi's total of three red cards is in contrast to Ronaldo, who has eleven. "Our approaches are different, but the respect is mutual," Ronaldo once commented on their contrasting disciplinary records.

Final word

Cristiano Ronaldo's journey through the football world is marked by all of Cristiano Ronaldo's red cards, moments that blend passion with a penalty. These instances, while they have sometimes led to criticism, underline his unyielding desire to excel and his profound impact on the game.

READ ALSO: Cristiano Ronaldo's net worth

Sports Brief published an article about Cristiano Ronaldo's net worth, contract, and more. The former striker for Manchester United and Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo, is one football player who has been outperforming his colleagues for over a decade.

There is no denying that Portugal's international does not require an introduction because he is well-known to millions, if not billions, globally, both inside and outside of football.

Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.