Gareth Bale faces the threat of a 12-game ban after being reported to authorities for “a gesture of possible obscene and derogatory meaning” while celebrating his goal during Real Madrid’s derby win over Atletico.
The Wales international stepped off the bench to find the target in a 3-1 victory for the Blancos at Wanda Metropolitano.
Bale was introduced shortly before the hour mark and had only been on the field 17 minutes before hitting the back of the net.
Having been freed into space inside the box, the 29-year-old needed only one touch to set himself before drilling a low left-footed effort past Jan Oblak.
As the frustration of being named among the substitutes and the emotion of scoring in a crunch clash spilled out of him, Bale wheeled away in celebration.
His effort was a third of the afternoon for Real and wrapped up the points against their cross-city rivals .
Bale helped to silence some of his critics with an important contribution, but he made sure to make others aware of his achievement upon getting his name on the scoresheet.
He gestured in the direction of fans close to the sideline when celebrating after taking abuse from the terraces.
His actions were not included in the referee’s match report but have been flagged to the relevant authorities.
La Liga have referred the incident to the competition committee of the Spanish federation and Bale must now wait to discover whether any disciplinary action will be taken.
A statement released by La Liga read: “In the 73rd minute of the game, after scoring his team’s third goal, Real Madrid player Gareth Bale, who had been booed by the local fans, celebrated by raising his right hand close to his head, in a provocative gesture to the supporters, then in a gesture of possible obscene and derogatory meaning doubled his arm while cutting across the middle of it with his other hand.”
The sanctions which could be imposed on Bale vary in length.
The statement from La Liga added: “If it occurs, the offender will be sanctioned with a suspension of four to twelve games, or if the animosity is from the public, the suspension will be from one to three parties (games) or for a period of up to one month.”
Though La Liga do not have the final say on the punishment, it is understood that they are confident that the Spanish FA will only ban the former Tottenham man for a maximum of three matches.
If Bale were to be stung with a 12-game suspension, then he would miss almost all of the rest of the 2018-19 campaign.
Real have just 15 La Liga games left to take in this season, as they attempt to bridge the gap to leaders and defending champions Barcelona.
They will be hoping to see Bale, who now has 12 goals to his name this season and 100 in total for the club , play a leading role in that quest over the coming weeks.
It does, however, remain to be seen whether the Welshman will be cleared to push for more regular game time under Santiago Solari or forced to take in another spell on the sidelines.