Real Madrid and Barcelona have enjoyed one of the fiercest rivalries in LaLiga since decades, with the El Clasico being one of the most-watched fixtures in the world. LaLiga referees during the game have been known to be subject to intense pressure considering the gigantic fanbase that the two clubs possess, not just in Spain, but across the world. Any decision that goes against either of the teams is looked at critically, with the referees being blamed for helping one team over the other. Now, a former LaLiga referee has revealed the preferred choices of the referees between the two Spanish giants.
Former Spanish referee Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez, according to Cadena Ser, has claimed that 90 percent of the referees in the country are fans of Real Madrid. Gonzalez is considered as one of the most respected LaLiga referees, having overseen 291 matches in the league. He is also a self-confessed Athletic Bilbao fan. He further claimed that the remaining 10 percent support Barcelona.
Gonzalez's comments come a week after former English referee Mark Clattenburg, in his piece for Dail Mail, claimed that the goal scored by Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos in the 2016 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid was offside. The former English official was the one chosen to officiate the Madrid derby in the UCL final that was played in Milan. However, Spanish referee Gonzalez has now gone a step ahead in claiming the support for Real Madrid among the LaLiga referees is prominent.
Back in 2014, while speaking on Marca TV’s Tiki Taka programme as well, Gonzalez claimed that referees are not immune from supporting teams and they do follow particular football teams. He cited his own example saying that he follows Athletic Bilbao since he comes from the city of Bilbao. However, in the remaining regions of Spain, LaLiga referees either support Real Madrid or Barcelona, because they win competitions with ease, said Gonzalez. He asserted that most LaLiga referees are Real Madrid fans, but that hasn't affected their professionalism on the field.