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“Unfair red card”: Captain thunders blow on the face of referee

The 57-time Russian international Roman Shirokov (39) has shown his smallest side. During a friendly tournament at an amateur level, the captain of the European Championship took the referee to the hospital after a red card he considered to be unfair.

Roman Shirokov is a big name in Russian football. As many as 57 caps, 13 goals, and captain on EURO 2016. He also received a lot of praise in a club context with three Russian titles and one UEFA Cup. Between 2008 and 2014, he played at Zenit St. Petersburg, where he was a teammate of Nicolas Lombaerts and Axel Witsel.

But that fame now has a big crush on him. Shirokov retired four years ago, now earns a living as an analyst at MatchTV, and participated in a friendly tournament at the amateur level. A pleasant snack, you would think, were it not for the fact that the 39-year-old midfielder went entirely out of control when referee Nikita Danchenko treated him to a red card.

Shirokov responded with a punch, the ref fell down on the ground. Afterward, the soccer player also handed out some kicks in the stomach. Opponents jumped on Shirokov and pulled him away, after which medical personnel came running, and an ambulance was called.

Danchenko was then taken to hospital. There were some facial contusions and a torn eyebrow to light. “These are difficult moments for myself and my family”, the referee wrote on Instagram afterward. He was allowed to go home after treatment of more than four hours. “It is going well given the circumstances. I am grateful to everyone for their statements of support.”

“Unacceptable”

Shirokov had no choice but to apologize. “I’m sorry to Nikita for my unheard-of behavior. The fact that I was not given a penalty and then received a red card should never have been a reason for this behavior. I hope he will recover quickly, and I also want to apologize to the organization and MatchTV.”

The organizer of the tournament is already shocked. “This is disgusting, unacceptable, awful. How strange is this behavior? Many people saw this live,” said German Popkov. It remains to be seen whether Shirokov will be prosecuted.

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