El colegiado Martínez Munuera en el Camp Nou

Munuera, the referee that everyone feared

OPINION

The fears ended up being a reality. The assignment of Martinez Munuera to referee the Clasico made Barcelona shake due to his known sympathy towards Real Madrid. It's his family's team, as everyone in Benidorm, where he's from, knows. However, the club are immersed in so many battles, that the threat remained in the background in the build-up to the game. They'd been warned. And the warnings were right. 

This referee's disagreements with Barcelona and favours for Real Madrid added another chapter on Saturday. And it's one that will always be remembered because between him and Ramos they "invented" a penalty that decided the Clasico. They cooked it up between themselves amid the astonished looks of the Barcelona players at what was happening. Ramos fought for Lenglet at a corner. Both tugged at each other but it was the image of Lenglet which remained. The referee didn't give a penalty but VAR advised him and he went to look at the monitor. 

It gave Madrid breathing room against a Barça side that were pressing more and paved the way to three points. It was a robbery in every sense in a game full of incidents that always went in Madrid's favour, like Varane's handball or Casemiro's foul on Messi in the penalty box. 

Unfairly, Barça lost the Clasico but the players should focus on the details which proved decisive. And on their importance and influence on the game when the ball wasn't in play. And we're talking about pressing the referee or, as occurred in Getafe, when Nyom planted his face of the young Ansu. No one defended him -- just like few argued Saturday's decision. They have to learn how to defend Barça against external threats. 

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