Former Premier League official Mark Clattenburg has officiated in some of the biggest games in football history- including the Champions League 2016 final and the Euro 2016 final. He has seen some of the greatest football stars on the field including the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. While speaking to Sportsmail, Clattenburg has listed the top five players he has ever officiated.
Mark Clattenburg claims that he has officiated in games with Cristiano Ronaldo both in the Premier League as well as in the LaLiga. Ronaldo has always been respectful to him, says Clattenburg. He recalls an anecdote when he went to collect the medal after the Euro 2016 final when Ronaldo grabbed him to hug him out of respect.
Mark Clattenburg claims that he was awestruck when he officiated the first game with Lionel Messi playing. A referee is expected to keep an eye on the ball, but he would often lose sight, describing how skilful the Argentine international is. Clattenburg claims that Lionel Messi interacts less with the officials, but never disrespects them.
Mark Clattenburg reveals the first time he officiated Luis Suarez, the striker scored four goals for Ajax. When his signing to Liverpool was announced, Clattenburg knew what an exceptional player was set to arrive in the Premier League. He claims that Suarez would often abuse him in Spanish, to which he would respond back.
Vincent Kompany is arguably the best centre back Mark Clattenburg has seen in the Premier League. He would often talk with respect with the referees. There would be moments when he was sent off by Clattenburg, but that never affected their off-the-field relationship.
Gary Speed is a surprise mention in Mark Clattenburg's list. He claims that Speed played an important role in ensuring that he settled well during the initial days of his officiating career. He used to make grave mistakes during his initial days, but Speed would often come up and cheer him up.