Skip to content

Here’s the other, controversial side of Saturday’s Clasico

Mar 2, 2013, 1:39 PM EDT

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Getty Images

We played it straight when telling you about another Clasico win for Real Madrid. Given the Merengues’ performance, they deserved as much. For all of Barcelona’s possession, they were never the better team. Real Madrid earned their 2-1 victory.

There were two points of controversy that deserve more attention, including one which will leave Barcelona fans feeling slighted.

Here’s how The Guardian’s Gregg Bukowski described it:

Barcelona are denied a clear penalty at the death. They have every right to feel aggrieved. Ramos clearly trips Adriano, who snakes into the penalty area and shapes to shoot. Ramos was nowhere near the ball as he dangled his left leg out and caught Adriano’s shin. Real break and the whistle blows …

Let’s accept the premise that Ramos’s foul was penalty-worthy. Most would agree. Does that mean Barcelona necessarily have a right to be “aggrieved”?

In one sense, of course. A foul is a foul, and Barcelona has a right to expect they’ll be called just like they’d expect an offside, hand ball, or dangerous play to be whistled.

But let’s not make too much out of this.

I would certainly prefer soccer not include these kind of nebulous, unfortunate situations, but when you’re preparing your team for a game, you have to account for the possibility of human error. It is a part of the sport, and if you’re leaving your team in a position to need every call to go your way, you’re occupying a compromised position. You have to enable your team to overcome these slights, and down 2-1 late at the Bernabeu, Barcelona had no margin for error.

The harsh reality is most referees don’t call potentially game-deciding penalties at the end of games. Players know this. Coaches know this. Officials even know this, just as those of us who write about and watch the game know it. You can say Barcelona should feel wronged, but not any more so than every other team that’s been in that situation.

It’s nothing special, and it’s no reason to feel particularly wronged. If Barcelona had experienced something complete unexpected – something for which they couldn’t have planned – then we’d have something to talk about. Today, however, they wanted a whistle few teams will ever get. That’s not a reason to be upset.

But perhaps that feeling contributed to another unfortunate late-match incident, once that erupted after the final whistle. Not uncommon to this rivalry, there was a confrontation after the match. Barcelona players rushed the referee, and Victor Valdés saw red.

That these players haven’t figured out a way to restrain themselves is huge indictment of the players and staffs. That it was Barcelona who seemed more aggressive after is an ironic twist. After two years of seeing a hyper-aggressive, physical Real Madrid instigate these confrontations it’s Barcelona, now on the losing end of these derbies, that’s letting their immaturity show.

Maybe isn’t not immaturity. I may be underestimating the influence of the atmosphere this rivalry creates. Perhaps these Clasicos spark unconscious, blinding rage whenever you lose. Perhaps it’s wrong for me to expect adults used to being in this environment to avoid acting like teenagers.

But it’s far more likely these players are just being ridiculous. Since the team can’t figure it out for themselves, the LFP needs to do something about it.

Latest Posts
  1. VIDEO: Manchester United is closing the gap on Chelsea

    Apr 19, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    Despite losing to Chelsea over the weekend, Robbie Earle and Kyle Martino think Manchester United is already looking ahead to next season’s Premier League title chase.

  2. MLS Snapshot: Philadelphia Union 1-2 New England Revolution

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:09 PM EDT

    New England Revolution v Colorado Rapids Getty Images

    Philadelphia squandered a first half lead as New England rallied to earn a come-from-behind victory.

  3. La Liga & Serie A roundup: Sevilla stumbles in top-four race; Milan derby ends scoreless

    Apr 19, 2015, 6:02 PM EDT

    FBL-ESP-LIGA-GRANADA-SEVILLA Getty Images

    Catch up on all of Sunday’s action from Spain and Italy’s top flights.

  4. VIDEO: Is relegation a possibility for Newcastle United?

    Apr 19, 2015, 5:07 PM EDT

    Thousands of supporters boycotted Newcastle’s match today, as they dropped their sixth straight in the league. With 35 points and five to play, should the Magpies be worrying about relegation?

  5. Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool lacks big-game mentality

    Apr 19, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Aston Villa v Liverpool - FA Cup Semi-Final Getty Images

    Following Liverpool’s FA Cup semifinal loss to Aston Villa, the Reds’ boss said his side must learn how to deal with the occasion in big matches.

  6. Report: 8 gunned down during Brazilian soccer fan club meeting

    Apr 19, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    Corinthians Getty Images

    The horrible attack comes the night before a local derby, but police have ruled out fan violence as a motive.

  7. VIDEO: “I Was There” visits both sides of the Manchester derby

    Apr 19, 2015, 2:34 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 1.05.17 PM

    Go inside the Manchester Derby match day experience with a pair of supporter groups.

  8. David Silva may have escaped the worst following scary injury

    Apr 19, 2015, 1:49 PM EDT

    Silva Getty Images

    The Manchester City winger was sent home quickly from the hospital and he confirmed the “tests have gone well.”

  9. VIDEO: Pellegrini talks straightforward win over West Ham

    Apr 19, 2015, 1:27 PM EDT

    Pellegrini Getty Images

    The Manchester City manager wouldn’t be drawn into questions about his future at the club.

  10. Newcastle 1-3 Tottenham: Chadli, Eriksen see Spurs into sixth

    Apr 19, 2015, 12:51 PM EDT

    Spurs Getty Images

    Spurs bracketed halftime with a pair of goals and they stood tall to Newcastle’s spotty threat.

  11. Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool: Gerrard denied fairytale ending as Villa stun Reds, reach FA Cup final

    Apr 19, 2015, 11:58 AM EDT

    FBL-ENG-FACUP-ASTONVILLA-LIVERPOOL FBL-ENG-FACUP-ASTONVILLA-LIVERPOOL

    Villa will play Arsenal in the FA Cup final after beating Liverpool against all the odds.

  12. Jose Mourinho: Chelsea had Manchester United’s stars “in our pockets.” Is he right?

    Apr 19, 2015, 11:39 AM EDT

    Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Mourinho plays up defensive masterclass. But how did he quell United’s attackers?

  13. Watch Live: Newcastle vs Tottenham (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:44 AM EDT

    StJamesPark Getty Images

    Spurs search for a European place as they take on struggling Newcastle from St. James’ Park.

  14. Manchester City 2-0 West Ham: Two first half goals put down poor Hammers

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:35 AM EDT

    ManchesterCity AP

    The home side produced enough moments at the Etihad to see off a timid West Ham side.

  15. Memphis Depay is a major summer target for top teams according to PSV exec

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:55 AM EDT

    Depay Getty Images

    With his goal of an Eredivisie title secure, Memphis Depay will be a popular transfer target this coming summer.

  16. VIDEO: Odd James Collins own goal opens scoring at the Etihad

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    Goal Getty Images

    The West Ham defender flubbed an easy clearance and sent the ball into his own net as Manchester City have dominated West Ham in the first half.

  17. Borussia Dortmund names Thomas Tuchel as Jurgen Klopp’s successor

    Apr 19, 2015, 8:16 AM EDT

    KloppTuchel Getty Images

    Thomas Tuchel will follow in Jurgen Klopp’s footsteps for the second time when he takes over at Borussia Dortmund this summer.

  18. Watch Live: Manchester City vs West Ham (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:52 AM EDT

    PellegriniAllardyce AP

    A pair of slipping sides meet at the Etihad in a rematch of last seasons title-clinching win for Manchester City.

  19. Injuries piling up for top teams as Modric, Mertesacker go down

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:31 AM EDT

    Mertesacker Getty Images

    It’s that time of year, where big clubs look to the bench to replace important players in big games.

Featured video

Hazard seals victory for Chelsea