The men in black
There was a saying among referees back in the day: “You don't earn your match official stripes until you've been hit by the Real Madrid express train”. Overseeing a Real Madrid match for the past fifty years has always been an acid test for any match official with the public microscope ready to analyse and dissect any decision that goes for or against the men in white. The referee is on a hiding to nothing with the ire of the public and of course the media waiting to pounce. It's not just the press however who react to these decisions as the fallout from these game becoming part of day to day conversation in all walks of life.
The latest referee to experience this fall-out is Gil Manzano, who awarded a spot kick for Madrid on Sunday at the Estadio de la Ceramica. For many people, it wasn't a penalty and I'd go along with them as did Urizar and Iturralde (former match officials who now work in the media). There are some who feel that Bruno handled the ball from which Cristiano subsequently managed to score a record 57th spot kick and help Madrid turn the contest around. At the same time, images suggest that Cedric Bakambu was inches offside ahead of making it 2-0 for the home side. Another marginal decision if it serves as any comfort to the under-fire Gil Manzano.
The Real Madrid express
This is the side product of officiating a Madrid game and as the day wore on yesterday, things became over magnified as is generally the case when the Santiago Bernabeu club are under discussion Tristante Oliva awarded a spot kick in favour of Madrid when Marchena was adjudged to have pulled Raúl (in 2004) and this was the beginning of the end of his career as a match official. The penalty award in 2004 was correct but the fallout from the decision was so great that the referee abandoned his intended career path. Gil Manzano was in charge of the game when Arda Turan hurled a boot at one of his assistants and we'll see how he pulls through the impact of being struck by the Real Madrid express train, or in this case the ant-Madrid express.