MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid left back Marcelo has been widely criticized for his fake dive against Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
The Brazilian defender appeared to kick and head-butt Max Arnold, then threw himself to the ground after pretending he was hit in the face by the German midfielder.
His antics in Real Madrid's 2-0 loss in Germany on Wednesday led to a yellow card to Arnold, who could miss the semifinals if he is booked again in next week's second leg and Wolfsburg advances.
Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking was still upset by the incident after the match, and reportedly had an angry exchange with Marcelo in the tunnel to the changing rooms.
"He doesn't need to do it," Hecking said.
Marcelo was booed off the field by fans at Wolfsburg Arena, while Arnold, who scored the second goal, said afterward the incident was "part of football."
Images of Marcelo's dive were published across sports websites worldwide, and the player was castigated on social media. German papers said Marcelo was a "poor actor."
The incident happened in the 69th minute, with Wolfsburg already winning 2-0.
Marcelo reached back at Arnold with his leg after the whistle was blown, then seemed to head-butt him in the chest when the midfielder got closer.
After Marcelo went to the ground, the German went toward him to complain and a melee started with other players.
Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi issued a yellow card to Arnold while Marcelo escaped punishment. Real Madrid striker Gareth Bale also was shown a yellow for shoving Wolfsburg players in the altercation.
Hecking was outraged that Arnold ended as the villain in the eyes of the referee even though his player remained mostly calm throughout the episode.
It was Arnold's second yellow card in the Champions League this season. He was booked in the loss to PSV Eindhoven in the group stage, meaning another one in Tuesday's return game in Madrid will force him out of the semifinals if Wolfsburg protects its lead.
Players are automatically banned for one game after receiving three yellow cards.
UEFA wipes all yellow cards after the quarterfinals to keep players from missing the final for being booked in each of the semifinal legs.