In a professional football league like Spain's La Liga where the stakes are very high, players at times fail to keep their emotions in check and end up committing actions that fall foul of Law 12 of the Laws of the Game.
Accordingly, yellow or red cards are shown by the referee to players for their acts of misconduct on the field or in its immediate vicinity. The colour of the card depends on the severity of the player's action as interpreted by the referee, which may or may not include a foul.
The yellow card is often a 'mild' form of caution for a relatively minor act of misconduct, with the player allowed to remain involved in the game.
However, two yellows accrued in a match means that a player is immediately required to leave the field of play. Of course, a player can also receive a straight red card for actions like two-footed lunges, physical assault of opponents, show of dissent to the referee or denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by committing a deliberate foul.
Needless to say, in all cases where a player gets a red card (direct red or two yellows) in a game, his team suffers because they are reduced to a numerical inferiority, which hands an immediate advantage to the opponent team.
Top five players with the most red cards in La Liga
In the La Liga last season, among 40 different players who received a red card, three of them managed to do so on multiple occasions. Let us find out if any of them make the list of top five players who have been sent off the most number of times in the history of the La Liga.
#T5 Xavi Aguado (13 red cards)
Xavi Aguado had a distinguished playing career with Real Sociedad, playing 283 La Liga games for the side during a 13-season stint where he won three trophies.
Aguado, who retired in 2003, scored 22 goals in all competitions for Sociedad, which is an impressive tally for a centre-back. But he shares the rather ignominious record of getting sent off on 13 occasions, with five of them being direct red cards, which is the fifth-most for a player in La Liga history.
#T5 Carlos Marchena (13 red cards)
41-year-old Carlos Marchena, like Xavi Aguado, has received 13 red cards - five of them being direct send-offs - in his La Liga career.
The centre-back, who also played as a defensive midfielder, appeared in 330 La Liga games, the bulk of them coming for Valencia during a nine-season stint.
#4 Alberto Lopo (14 red cards)
Alberto Lopo, who turned up for La Liga sides Espanyol, Deportivo La Coruna and Getafe, played 409 games in the competition where he received a red card on 14 occasions.
Lopo received a direct red card on as many as seven occasions, with only one player managing more direct reds than him.