Champions League final earned by referee Mark Clattenburg

This year’s Champions League has seen some new aspects relative to previous years, and it has been difficult to see the two UEFA actions linked to the selection of Mark Clattenburg as referee for the final. The first we remember was that Cüneyt Çakır officiated in two semifinals - the first leg between Manchester City and Real Madrid (0-0) and return between Bayern and Atletico (2-1). The refereeing establishment found it astonishing that the Turk was appointed on the second occasion. On the other hand, they were also surprised when the Englishman, who was in charge of the first leg of Atlético’s semi-final, was named for the final. This decision is a clear statement that Pierluigi Collina, Uefa’s Head of Referees, has imposed his criteria of the importance of being the most fit, and how you can pay for one mistake, which we saw happen with Rizzoli when he missed the clear hand of Gabi at the Cálderon.

In choosing Clattenburg, the referee known for his spikey hair early in his international career, is a wise move. He has proven his worth across this closing season but most notably in the aforementioned semi-final. Personally, I think he had the game of his life, and with Collina watching on. He has earned the right to be given the final whistle.

It’s also true that he brings together all the attributes that are needed to referee a game between rivals from the same city. Mark, 41, wouldn't be considered a particularly friendly referee on the pitch. He almost never laughs, is serious, authoritarian and hard when he needs to be. He moves well, and allows strong contact, a good British trait. He doesn’t pander to player protests. He tends to hold on to his cards in the first half and his officiating often goes unnoticed unless people go looking to wind him up.

Clattenburg, additional assistants Andre Marriner and Anthony Taylor and fourth officlal Viktor Kassai looking sharp pre-game.

I like the way he handles the game and tries to let it flow, while controlling everything that happens on the field - and in the dugout - for 90 minutes. Guaranteed it'll be right from the off from both of these teams…

Ildefonso Urizar Azpitarte was a top-flight referee from 1977 to 1991.