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You would have thought that players would return from the two week winter break full of peace and goodwill to all men, but in fact there were seven red cards in the opening weekend of the year, the second highest tally of the season! The highest profile red card of the lot though was for Real Madrid keeper Adán, who was controversially replacing Iker Casillas, a decision which earned coach José Mourinho a cacophony of boos at the start of the match. The poor lad only lasted six minutes however before getting himself sent off for bringing down Real Sociedad's Carlos Vela, and Casillas had to come on for the rest of the game. Numbers were evened up later on though when Estrada picked up a second booking. The first red card of the new year was for Zaragoza's Alvaro for protesting to the referee after the final whistle following their defeat against Betis on Friday evening, and his sporting director Luis Cuartero was also reported by referee José Antonio Teixeira for insulting the officials several times afterwards. The following day Athletic's young defender Aymeric Laporte was red-carded for bringing down Roger as he advanced on goal just before the interval in their match at Levante, and later in the day Granada's Mikel Rico got his marching orders after he was shown two yellow cards in the first half hour of the game against Valencia. Then on Monday evening Getafe's Michel was also sent to wash his mouth out with soap and water after he threatened Rayo's Leo Baptistao following a hard tackle in which the midfielder got caught with an elbow. All will be joined on the sidelines next weekend together with another eleven players who completed the five yellow card cycle, including Betis's Beñat, the first player to pick up a tenth booking, and Abel Aguilar (Deportivo), Héctor Moreno (Espanyol), Iñigo López (Granada), Iborra (Levante), Jesús Gámez (Málaga), Piti (Rayo), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Iñigo Martínez and Mikel González (both Real Sociedad) and Movilla (Zaragoza), all of whom were shown their fifth. Happy New Year! (11.01.13)

PS Piti was let off one of his yellow cards, and one of Mikel Rico's was put on hold pending further investigation. Alvaro was given a two match ban, and the disciplinary committee asked for more information about Cuartero before deciding what to do about him. He should have the book thrown at him though under the new, tougher regime that is being imposed this season.

(* suspension pending disciplinary meeting decision)

Villains Yellow cards Red cards (straight) Games banned Total points
Wakaso (Espanyol) 12 1 2 15
Medel (Sevilla) 7 2 (1) 4 14
Cabral (Celta) 9 2 3 14
Alvaro (Zaragoza) 6 2 (2) 3* 13
Ricardo Costa (Valencia) 8 2 2 12
Sapunaru (Zaragoza) 11 0 1 12
Beñat (Betis) 10 0 2* 12
Alexis (Getafe) 6 1 (1) 3 11
Michel (Getafe) 7 1 (1) 2* 11
Armenteros (Osasuna) 7 1 (1) 2 11
Ander Herrera (Athletic) 4 2 (1) 3 10
Moreno (Espanyol) 5 1 (1) 3* 10
Rubén (Rayo Vallecano) 4 2 (2) 2 10
Miranda (Atlético) 7 1 2 10
Iborra (Levante) 7 1 2* 10
Arribas (Osasuna) 7 1 2 10
Rakitic (Sevilla) 7 1 2 10
Víctor Sánchez (Espanyol) 9 0 1 10
Damìa (Osasuna) 9 0 1 10
Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid) 9 0 1 10