- La Liga
Ronaldo allegedly calls official a 'piece of s**t'
Two days after Saturday's 2-1 win for Barcelona over Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season, many in the Spanish capital were still lamenting what they saw as a biased refereeing performance which decided the game.
Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti and players including Sergio Ramos set this tune immediately after the final whistle at the Camp Nou, with the Blancos club site highlighting on its home page an alleged foul by Javier Mascherano on Cristiano Ronaldo inside the penalty area with the score at 1-0 to Barcelona.
Much of Sunday's media coverage took its lead from the club's complaints, and the criticism of experienced official Alberto Undiano Mallenco continued on Monday - with AS reporting that an 'indignant' Ronaldo had left the pitch fuming at the referee, and continued his complaints when talking in the tunnel to Barca players including Carles Puyol.
Spanish TV station Cuatro's heavily-worked lip-readers reckoned Ronaldo insulted an official by calling him a "piece of s**t", with Sergio Busquets responding by calling his opponent a 'crybaby'.
Mallenco booked the Madrid attacker for his protests after the Mascherano incident, with his report maintaining drily that the card was shown for "making observations about the play, in disapproval of one of my decisions." The Catalan press gleefully claimed on Monday that Ronaldo may now face a ban if it can be proven he used stronger language than the referee thought at the time.
Multi-page coverage of the refereeing in AS included the statistic that Madrid players were shown five yellow cards in the game, while Barca only received two, even though the Catalan side committed more fouls. The Madrid-leaning paper even claimed Lionel Messi should have received two yellows and been sent off for a high foot similar to that which saw Gareth Bale booked, and then a clear dive later in the game.
There were also mentions around the Madrid press of their B team being victimised by a penalty wrongly given against Castilla in the 1-1 draw at home to Ponferradina in La Segunda on Sunday. However they were quiet on whether Sergio Ramos had deserved a second yellow for taking out Andres Iniesta in midfield on Saturday, or if a Pepe challenge on Cesc Fabregas in the first half merited a penalty too.
Iniesta stayed away from the controversy when speaking with Barca TV, saying Madrid had caused them problems in the second half, but Barca had been able to seal the win with Alexis Sanchez goal on the break.
"We were up against Real Madrid and I don't think we should drive ourselves crazy just because they created a few chances," he said. "They were losing and that means you're not afraid to go forward. In the end we took advantage with the second goal. Anything can happen when FC Barcelona and Real Madrid meet because they're both great teams with great players. But in the end it was a question of us being better than them."
The Spanish international did say that he had enjoyed the lack of controversy and hyperbole around the game, compared to some encounters of the recent past.
"Until a few years ago, the 'clasicos' were calm affairs," Iniesta said. "I think they'll be like that from now on."
Download ESPN's new UK sport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.