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Reviewing the referee’s performance during the 2-2 draw between Barcelona and Real Madrid in El Clasico

Barcelona v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

The 2-2 draw between Real Madrid and Barcelona had a number of controversial calls made by referee Hernandez Hernandez. Here are all of them. Find a verdict at the very end of the piece.

Disclaimer: Football is not an exact science and even some referees will not share the same criteria when judging a play.

00:17: Rakitic’s tackle on Casemiro. The Croatian midfielder wasn’t booked and this probably deserved a yellow card. Still, not a red card as Rakitic goes for the ball. Wrong call but it is not a play which would’ve made a big impact.

06:00: Ronaldo called offside when he was ready to face Ter Stegen. It’s certainly very close, certainly too much to be certain when you don’t have the replay. Still, Ronaldo is offside just 16 centimeters, as some TV shows proved after the game. Right call.

44:00: Messi loses his temper and gets booked. This is the right call. The Argentinian star clearly lost it and this play came right after Ramos and Suarez got tangled up, so Messi was probably trying to get Ramos angry so that Real’s captain could be sent off. Still, this tackle doesn’t deserve a red card.

45:00: Bale catches Umtiti’s calf and doesn’t get booked. The Welshman should’ve been sent off here and didn’t even see a yellow card. He is not trying to get the ball and the referee made a mistake.

45:00+: Sergi Roberto throws an arm and sees a red card. It’s hard to find a better view of this one but it’s the right call. Red card.

52:00: Suarez fouls Varane, recovers the ball and Barcelona score. I just can’t believe the referee didn’t see this one. It’s an obvious foul and even Suarez admitted it after the game. “It’s a foul because Varane controls the ball and I trip him.” Enough said. Wrong call.

54:00: Rakitic called for being offside, Barcelona’s goal disallowed. Forget all about the terrible line drawn on this image and pay attention to Rakitic’s right shoulder, which is slightly ahead of Ramos. You can legally score with your shoulder, so that’s what matters. Close, very close. Still the right call.

76:00: Marcelo falls inside Barça’s box. Referee doesn’t see a PK. It’s quite clear that Alba makes contact with Marcelo’s right leg. The referee should’ve called a penalty for Real Madrid here. Wrong decision.


LaLiga referees are absolutely terrible. No conspiracy theories. Real Madrid probably feel like the referee was detrimental to them tonight and they are right. Still, he also missed what should’ve probably been a red card for Bale. All in all, this proves one thing. VAR can’t be here soon enough.

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