Antonio Rudiger has branded the yellow card issued to him after being on the end of an apparent headbutt from Everton winger Bernard a “joke”.

Towards the end of the first half in their goalless draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Blues centreback Rudiger got into a tangle with the Toffees winger, having apparently accused the Brazilian of going to ground too easily.

As match referee Kevin Friend turned away from the pair to keep up with the play, the 5ft 3in Bernard stood up and appeared to force his head towards Rudiger, a full foot taller than him, causing the centreback to clutch his face while collapsing in a heap. The clash saw both players go to the book and with the incident having been dealt with at the time, it sees further retrospective action ruled out.

While the Brazilian did manage to connect his forehead with Rudiger’s chin, the action did not appear to have been done with much force yet the Chelsea centreback firmly felt hard done by Friend’s decision to book him, before suggesting the Brazilian winger would have been given his marching orders had VAR been in effect in the Premier League.

“It’s annoying because I don’t even tackle someone, do something and I get booked for being head-butted. Sorry, but that’s a joke,” said the German international central defender.

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“He was diving and I told him to stand up. Then he came with a lot of speed and hit me with his forehead, so for me to get a yellow card – to me that’s a joke.

“The referee didn’t see anything. Perhaps it’s the fourth official who was outside [the pitch], maybe he said something to him [Kevin Friend] that I had provoked [Bernard] or something, but I just said, ‘Stand up’.

“If there is VAR in England, then Bernard has a problem. He would be sent off.”