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Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Who is Sánchez Martínez, the referee for El Clásico?

The Murcian referee will be in charge of the match as Barça visit the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday, and he’s assisted by a more controversial figure.

Sánchez Martínez.

As you may have heard, there’s a rather big game in LaLiga Santander on Sunday, and the man with the whistle for El Clásico is José María Sanchez Martinez.

Follow the match between Real Madrid - Barcelona here

Sánchez Martínez: El Clásico referee

As Xavi brings his Barcelona team to the Spanish capital to face the eternal rivals Real Madrid, the Murcian referee got the nod from the Referees Technical Committee to take charge of an already intriguing and important match so early in the season. There is a lot at stake between the two sides, both vying to take an outright lead in the table, so one of the most trusted and valued officials has been given the job of keeping things under control.

So, while there is great confidence where the man in the middle is concerned, the most controversy lies in the decision of the referee who will assist Sánchez Martínez as VAR. Hérnandez Hernández -- so self-important it feels that’s why he was named twice (actually it’s just a combination of both his parents’ surnames) -- will be in the video room with the purpose of helping out the main referee if necessary. Clearly ‘if necessary’ is a subjective term.

Sánchez Martínez checks VAR.
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Sánchez Martínez checks VAR.Denis DoyleGetty Images

Hérnandez Hernández: the Clásico VAR

The Canarian official has accumulated various controversies in Clásicos of the past, not pleasing either of the two teams that will face each other at the Bernabéu, with numerous questionable calls being made. Not only is Hernández Hernández’s performance criticized in the Clásicos. The ref also enraged Atlético Madrid fans for overruling a VAR recommendation, the first time this had happened in LaLiga.

In short, the eyes of the Catalan and Madrid fans will be very attentive to the performance of Sánchez Martínez on the pitch, but potentially more concerned about what comes out from the VAR.


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