‘Hell Clasico!’ That was how one British paper dubbed Wednesday’s fiery Champions League Semi Final tie between Real Madrid at Barcelona in the Spanish Capital; they were spot on. It was the third time the two fierce rivals had met in the past 11 days but even though the anticipation in the build up to the game was huge, the match developed into an ill tempered and at times, a quite frankly embarrassing affair.
It should have been a great advert for the beautiful game but instead it was a complete turn off and a disgrace to the sport. If there wasn’t bad tackles going in then there was playacting going on or players constantly surrounding and putting pressure on the referee. The fracas going into the tunnel at half time was a disgusting scene and then there were the events surrounding Real Madrid’s Pepe being sent off which culminated with manager Jose Mourinho being sent to the stands. When the players and staff members look back on the game, they will surely feel ashamed of their behaviour. The two teams set such a terrible example for all the youngsters and aspiring footballers out there watching that it wouldn’t be a surprise if parents around the world told their sons and daughters to turn the TV off.
This game will forever be remembered as a terrible advert for football. Not surprisingly, the events at the Bernabeu drew the attention of UEFA and today it was announced that both clubs have been charged by the European governing body. The Real Madrid case concentrates on the dismissals of Pepe and manager Jose Mourinho and his post match press conference where he appeared to imply that Barcelona are favoured by referees. UEFA will also look at the behaviour of the Real Madrid fans after missiles were thrown onto the pitch and a green laser light was shined at Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes. Furthermore the organisation will examine the red card shown at Barcelona’s reserve goalkeeper Jose Pinto. Pinto was shown a red card after slapping Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa in the fracas at half time. Both cases will be heard by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body on 6th May.
It’s understandable that when two fierce rivals meet that there may be some tension but yesterday’s scenes were totally inappropriate. One may expect some pretty fierce tackles in clashes like these but the thing that was really upsetting to see was how far both teams were prepared to go to win. On numerous occasions, players deliberately tried to get others sent off by playacting and feigning injuries. The prime example is Pepe’s challenge on Dani Alves which resulted in the Portuguese defender being sent off. Would the referee have shown him the red card if Dani Alves had just got up and not rolled around the floor acting as though his leg was broken in two places? Of course not!
UEFA have said in the past that they will try and clamp out such playacting and if they are serious then they should study the events of last night closely and act accordingly. How can a player (Dani Alves) go off on a stretcher only to be back on the pitch less than five minutes later running about? It’s simple, if a player gets stretchered off when they’re not actually injured, they should not be allowed to come back on. You can see where the perception that all footballers are pansies come from.
The El Clasico is arguably the biggest fixture on the football calendar. Normally everyone can’t wait for the game but after Wednesday’s debacle, it won’t be surprising if football fans decide not to tune in.