For fans of statistics the match referee for the Madrid Champions League derby, Martin Atkinson, has officiated 404 Premier League games and handed out 1,336 yellow cards and 57 reds. This season he has overseen 37 games, seven of them at European level, with 126 cautions and three dismissals.
Atkinson is a vastly experienced referee who has a firm grasp of all aspects of match officiating given that between 2000 and 2003 he was a linesman in the Premier League, achieving promotion to referee in 2004.
Madrid derby ref will hold out on the cautions
In Europe this season he took charge of Athletic against Genk and awarded three penalties, and all three were correctly given. But that is perhaps the area where he is least proficient – when making decision for incidents in the penalty areas. As an English referee and given that we are now at the semi-final stage Atkinson will hold on to his yellow card for as long as possible and won’t wield it in the opening exchanges unless it is unavoidable.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish the match officials all the best of luck for tonight’s feast of football.