Barcelona had their frustrations eased on Sunday evening by a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid, but it did not stop the players and fans from venting their frustration at the referee. Nor were the former thrilled to find one of the linesman outside their dressing room after the match had finished.
Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez was in charge for the clash, with the home crowd at Montjuic feeling that Barcelona got the short straw in a number of decisions, but especially regarding a penalty appeal on Joao Felix, two fouls on Memphis Depay and his own block of Ilkay Gundogan while the German was on the attack.
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According to Sport, after the match, linesman Raul Cabanero was found outside the Barcelona dressing room, they allege to eavesdrop on the players both at half-time and at full-time. Press officer Edu Polo told Cabanero to leave at full-time, but the linesman called for Sanchez over his radio, who then asked Polo whom he was. Xavi Hernandez appeared, and, confirmed the identity of Polo.
Diario AS say that Sanchez called for calm, and the issue was resolved through dialogue. However they confirm Sport’s allegations, claiming that Cabanero went into the dressing room at half-time to do the customary check of the player’s kit, something that normally takes place outside of the dressing room. When Polo asked Cabanero what he was doing after the game, he responded ‘my job’, before calling Sanchez.
As players returned to the dressing room, they were reportedly astonished to see the referees interrupting their celebrations. All in all, Barcelona are not only highly suspicious, but irritated by Cabanero’s actions, beyond the decisions on the pitch, considering his behaviour unacceptable.
The tiff is unlikely to go any further without any protocol for this kind of action, but in a time when both of the big two have been quick to fan the flames of refereeing controversy, this will no doubt tempt Barcelona into voicing their frustrations even more loudly. On the whole, refereeing in Spain has far too often been a talking point in recent seasons.