Here’s the lowdown on the whistler for the Real Madrid - Barcelona Copa del Rey Clásico at the Bernabéu on Wednesday night.
The referee for the Real Madrid - Barcelona Copa del Rey semi-final second leg at the Bernabéu is José María Sánchez Martínez, from the Murcia federation. He'll be assisted in the VAR booth by Basque referee De Burgos Bengoetxea.
Sánchez Martínez's Clásico history
Sánchez Martínez is somewhat of a clásico in the Clásicos, having taken charge of three clashes between the eternal rivals. In those games Real Madrid have won one and Barcelona two, as follows: in the return leg of the Spanish SuperCup in 2018 Madrid won 2-0 in the Bernabéu; in December 2017 in LaLiga Barcelona ran out 0-3 winners at the Bernabéu, with Sánchez Martínez sending Dani Carvajal off for a straight red; and on 28 October 2018 Barcelona beat Real Madrid 5-1 at the Camp Nou, in the game that saw Lopetegui finally sacked.
José María Sánchez Martínez's style of officiating
Sánchez Martínez prefers to control a game through his strong body language, and it's unusual to see him chatting to the players. Early on his his career he was notably stern about players protesting his decisions, which has now given him a greater level of freedom in his dealings with them. His recent refereeing performances have been outstanding, meaning he comes into this Clásico full of confidence and with no controversies hanging over his head.