Yaya Toure was sent off after kicking an opponent just 10 seconds into Qingdao Huanghai’s celebratory final match of the China League One season on Saturday.
The former Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder lashed out as Qingdao went on the attack from kick-off at home to Nantong Zhiyun.
After a review by the video assistant referee (VAR), the referee showed the 36-year-old Toure a red card with less than two minutes on the clock.
His Qingdao side, who had already been promoted to the top-tier Chinese Super League, lost 2-1 but were still crowned champions.
It could be an ignominious end at Qingdao for Toure, who told AFP last week that he intends to move on in the new year.
But he has no intention of retiring and said that he wants to play until he is 40.