Rio de Janeiro: Former AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf has denied calling the referee a clown during an exchange that led to his injury-time dismissal in Brazil`s Campeonato Carioca last Sunday.
The former Netherlands midfielder was shown consecutive yellow cards after arguing with referee Philip Georg Bennett over where to leave the pitch when substituted during Botafogo`s 2-1 victory over Madureira.
"There was no time to say everything that the referee claimed I said," Seedorf told a press conference Friday. "I am a Fair Play ambassador for UEFA so I know my responsibility. Why wouldn`t I respect the referee?"
The dismissal was just the second of Seedorf`s 21-year professional career. The first was while playing for AC Milan during an Italian Serie A match against Messina in April 2006.
Seedorf also criticised Madureira player Gabriel for appearing to urge Bennett to send off the 36-year-old and then celebrating when the red card was shown.
"I have a reputation and a record. It`s incredible what the Madureira player said and the way he celebrated my sending off. It was ridiculous and done in bad taste," Seedorf said.
"I know that I am not above the law and I always try to respect it. Breaking the law is something you relate to criminals and it is as if this was a crime."
The former Ajax, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan star could face a ban of up to 12 matches pending an investigation by the Sports Justice Tribunal of Rio de Janeiro.