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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Who is Szymon Marciniak, the referee for Napoli vs Milan? Champions League quarterfinal second leg

The all-Italian tie is poised beautifully ahead of Tuesday night’s clash in Naples, and the man in the middle will be hoping that his performance is solid.

Update:
The all-Italian tie is poised beautifully ahead of Tuesday night’s clash in Naples, and the man in the middle will be hoping that his performance is solid.
Simon Hofmann - FIFAFIFA via Getty Images

When it comes to European competitions, it’s always good to see teams from different leagues trying to outwit each other but occasionally there are ties that pit domestic rivals against each other that capture the imagination.

The Champions League quarter-final between Napoli and AC Milan is one of those, and we’re all set for the second leg, with both sets of fans dreaming of a semi-final place, something that would be a historic moment for tonight’s hosts. As well as the players and managers looking to perform at their best, another rather important figure will be aiming to deliver a world class performance, namely the referee, Szymon Marciniak. So who is he?

Szymon Marciniak: where’s he from?

Marciniak is a highly-regarded Polish professional referee, who has the distinguished honour of having been named “The World’s Best Referee” by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics in 2023. Marciniak, born in the town of Płock in 1981, began his career as a football referee at the relatively tender age of 21, initially combining refereeing with playing at an amateur level. He later switched to working as a football referee professionally in 2006.

GOATs | Lionel Messi of Argentina protests to Szymon Marciniak during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final.
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GOATs | Lionel Messi of Argentina protests to Szymon Marciniak during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final.Catherine IvillGetty

Marciniak’s international career as a referee began in 2011 when he joined the FIFA ranks. Since then, he has refereed several significant matches, including the 2018 UEFA Super Cup final match between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup semi-final match between Qatar and Algeria, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup final match between Argentina and France, held in Lusail, Qatar. His performance in the World Cup final was highly praised by commentators and fellow referees alike.

Marciniak has given 1212 yellow cards, 79 red cards, and has awarded 131 penalty kicks in more than 300 Ekstraklasa matches he has refereed as of 2021. He has two children with his wife Magdalena and practices Muay Thai as an amateur, so don’t mess. In 2021, he was diagnosed with tachycardia after recovering from a covid-19 infection, preventing him from officiating matches at the UEFA Euro 2020. He’s all set for this tasty quarter-final second leg.

Who is VAR for Napoli vs Milan?

The modern referee is also rather used to some interference from afar and tonight’s Video Assistant Referee is Tomasz Kwiatkowski, also from Poland. He is assisted by compatriot Bartosz Frankowski.

Running the sidelines are another couple of Poles, Paweł Sokolnicki and Tomasz Listkiewicz, while the fourth official is Glenn Nyberg from Sweden.