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Simeone feels Real Madrid get preferential treatment from referees

Diego Simeone wasn’t pleased when Ángel Correa was sent off in Saturday’s derby and felt Antonio Rüdiger made the most out of an innocuous nudge.

Atletico Madrid's Argentinian forward Angel Correa (R) receives a red card during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on February 25, 2023. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Diego Simeone wasn’t too surprised when his side was reduced to 10 men in Saturday’s derby at the Bernabéu. Ángel Correa received his marching orders on 64 minutes after a scuffle with Antonio Rüdiger. Replays of the incident showed the Real Madrid centre-back with his arms shackling Correa to restrict his movement as Mario Hermoso prepared to launch a throw-in. Correa shrugged Rüdiger off and the defender went down as though he has been violently struck in the chest. Referee Jesús Gil Manzano, whose track record against Atleti had been questioned in the pre-match press conference, instantly reached for his red card and sent Correa back to the dressing room without a VAR review.

Simeone and Ancelotti disagree on Correa red card

Both coaches were asked about the incident after the game. Ancelotti was adamant in his reply, “Yes, completely fair decision” - a point of view not shared by Simeone. In his press conference, the Atlético Madrid coach gave his thoughts on the red card, with the club set to submit an appeal to the Competitions Commitee. ”I can’t really add much more than what has been written in the club statement,” El Cholo explained. “We had to overcome Reinildo’s injury and having a player sent off; the referee, who was close to the move and could see Ángel’s movement, interpreted in a certain way. But we also have the possibility that VAR could take a look at the blow, or how much contact there was, to show that it didn’t have the force necessary for a player to be sent off. Ok, it might have caused an injury, we don’t know, these are decisions that the referee has to make. But he [Rüdiger] got up right away. I’m not sure how he was able to fall like that - Rüdiger is huge and Correa is only a little guy. He touched him, there was contact as we all saw, but you have to ask yourself whether that is a foul or not, whether it is aggressive enough to be penalised. Once again, another decision on these kinds of incidents hasn’t gone in our favour. We need help, so that we are all able to compete in the same way and VAR didn’t even give us the possibility of seeing it back - like in yesterday’s game between Elche and Betis (in which there was four penalties and three players sent off), we do have VAR to help us and a lot of people who can revise these things - it can all be done much better”.

Atleti took the lead soon after but were punished when 18-year-old Álvaro Rodríguez was left unmarked to level it up from a corner late on.

“Football is a physical game”

Simeone reiterated his displeasure in a flash zone interview for DAZN: “Contact is not a blow. “Football is a physical game. If I’m not mistaken, Rüdiger is 6 foot 4 and if it must have a brutal blow to floor him like that, but he immediately gets up. It may be a yellow card but sending a player off for that... you’ll end up with no players left on the pitch. It’s the same story. It is normal, and it has become normal [referees favouring Madrid] and that’s not right and it would be nice if we could all compete on a level playing field.”


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