Sun, 26 Mar 2023

MADRID, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista on Friday apologized for the wild challenge on Real Madrid winger, Vinicius Jr, which saw him sent off in his side's 2-0 defeat to Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Thursday night.

Valencia was already 2-0 down in the 72nd minute when Paulista went in high and late on Vinicius, appearing to launch a kick at his fellow Brazilian's knee.

Referee Arveloa Rojas had no hesitation in showing Paulista a direct red card in the middle of the ensuing melee and on Friday the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) handed Paulista a two-game ban, which means he will miss games against Girona and Athletic Club Bilbao.

Paulista wrote on his Instagram site on Friday to apologize for an action which leaves his struggling side without a key player.

"I accept the criticism for the red card. I'm not proud about that," commented the defender, who said he was "a hard player, but a noble one."

"I respect Vinicius and it was never my intention to injure him," he insisted.

Vinicius has no ill effects from the challenge, but Real Madrid will be without Karim Benzema and Eder Militao against Mallorca on Sunday after the two suffered muscle problems in Thursday's game.

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