On 13th August 2017, Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off in win over Barcelona:

  • He was given a first yellow card for removing his shirt during the celebration of a goal.
  • A couple of minutes later, he got the second yellow card for diving to attempt to win a penalty.

The second yellow card made him be sent off. After receiving the red card he pushed the referee. Such action normally involves a direct red card, but he had already received it.

So my question is:

After receiving a second yellow card, can a player get an "extra" red card for a blatant bad behaviour?

My impression is that a player in that situation is already out of the game, so any actions involving suspension will just be written down by the referee in the "certificate" of the game, so the federation will study it after the game and, eventually, penalise the player. However, I don't know if this is what rules say.

4 Answers 4


The situation you are interested in is not explicitly mentioned in Laws of the Game or specifically in Disciplinary Code of Royal Spanish Football Federation (PDF in Spanish, page 56).

Showing a direct red card after showing a red card for two accumulated yellow cards is redundant. Because what is more important, as you have already guessed, is what the referee wrote in the post-match protocol.

And here comes the most entertaining part: what has Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea mentioned in his protocol? Below you can see the original protocol, published by MARCA:

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Which states:


79th minute. Player #7 Cristiano Ronaldo was cautioned for the following reason: removing off the shirt during goal celebration.

82th minute. Player #7 Cristiano Ronaldo was cautioned for the following reason: foul simulation.


82th minute. Player #7 Cristiano Ronaldo has been sent off for the following reason: second yellow card.

Other incidents:

Once shown the red card Cristiano Ronaldo pushed me slightly in a sign of disagreement.

As a result of this incident, Cristiano Ronaldo was banned for five games. So, this decision has been made because the referee mentioned it in the protocol and regardless whether Ronaldo received direct red card or not.


gdrt's answer provides an excellent summary of what occurred in the incident you provided as an example.

In general, a player cannot receive multiple "red cards" in the same match. The reasoning behind this becomes apparent when you refer to the sanction as a sending-off, rather than a "red card". The card is only a signal of the sanction.

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct, Section 3 - Disciplinary Action:

The yellow card communicates a caution and the red card communicates a sending-off.

It is obvious that a player cannot be sent-off more than once in a match. The Laws do not explicitly state this, but it is implied in Laws 3 and 12.

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct, Section 3 - Disciplinary Action:

A player, substitute or substituted player who has been sent off must leave the vicinity of the field of play and the technical area.


Only a player, substitute or substituted player may be shown the red or yellow card.

In Law 3 - The Players, Section 7 - Extra Persons on The Field of Play, the following language is used:

... a team official, substitute, substituted or sent off player ...

In Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct, Section 4 - Restart of Play After Fouls and Misconduct, the following language is used:

... opposing player, substitute, substituted or sent off player, or team official ...

The distinction is made, as:

  • when a player, substitute or substituted player is sent off, they become a sent off player
  • only players, substitutes and substituted players can be sent off
  • therefore, players who are already sent off cannot be sent off again - the red card or yellow card is not shown for subsequent sending-off or cautionable offences committed by a player after they have been sent off.

As happened in this case, if a player commits further misconduct (e.g. cautionable or sending-off offences) after having been sent-off, it is simply noted in the referee's report and the competition's disciplinary administrator or committee makes a determination on the matter.


Based on the language used, some responders appear to believe that merely showing the second yellow is a dismissal. This is incorrect. After the second yellow and before the restart of play, the referee must actually SHOW the red card following the display of the second yellow card. As others have correctly noted, once this occurs, the player (or substitute) becomes a dismissed player and therefore cannot be shown any further cards of any color for any reason. Any behavior that might be cautionable or warrant a dismissal is simply included in the match report and left to the discretion of the competition authority.

  • This is interesting. What if the referee does not show the red card following the display of the second yellow card? Would the player still be able to remain in the field?
    – fedorqui
    Aug 23, 2017 at 6:24
  • 1
    @fedorqui In 2004 world cup Graham Poll showed Croatia's Josip Simunic three yellow cards before sending him off. That means Simunic stayed in the pitch for some time however brief that is. Aug 23, 2017 at 11:12
  • Yes, and Poll resigned as a result of this grievous error (but for this event, he had been a well-respected official -- after all he was at the WC!). He explained later that he had misidentified Simunic for the first yellow (put another player's name down in his book) and thus, in the heat of the 2nd yellow, did not realize it was indeed a 2nd until an AR advised him of this upon the issuance of the 3rd yellow. Actually, the rest of Poll's crew have to share at least some of the blame for the mistake as (especially at this level) backup tracking of such things is a standard pregame topic. Aug 23, 2017 at 12:55

The Laws of the Game do account for such situations:

  • [The referee] has the authority to take disciplinary action from entering the field of play for the pre-match inspection until leaving the field of play after the match ends

(Laws of the Game, 2016-2017, Law 05: The Referee, point 3. Powers and duties, Disciplinary action)

The next bullet clarifies that this includes showing yellow or red cards. Yet, I do not know about actually displaying a second red card - that is probably redundant as gdrt said in their reply.

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