Referee Jesús Gil Manzano will take charge of Saturday’s LaLiga clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona, in what is the 37-year-old’s second career appointment to El Clásico.
Gil Manzano steps in for injured Mateu Lahoz
Gil Manzano was on Friday confirmed by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) as the replacement for Antonio Mateu Lahoz, who was originally chosen to officiate the match at the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano but has now been ruled out with a muscle injury.
LaLiga referee since 2012, named on FIFA list in 2014
Born in the town of Don Benito, located in the western Spanish region of Extremadura, Gil Manzano has been a Spanish top-flight referee since the 2012/13 season and was added to FIFA’s list of international referees in 2014.
Oversaw Real Madrid Clásico win in 2014
His only previous Clásico came in October 2014 – a game that saw Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid claim a 3-1 win over a Barcelona side which, under current Spain boss Luis Enrique, went on to clinch a LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble that season.
In all, Gil Manzano has refereed 31 Real Madrid matches – of which Los Blancos have won 25, drawn three and lost three – and 20 involving Barcelona, the Catalans registering 11 wins, five draws and four defeats in those games.
Referee sent Messi off in recent Spanish Super Cup final
Gil Manzano’s most recent Barcelona assignment was the Blaugrana’s 3-2 Spanish Super Cup final defeat to Athletic Club in January, a match notable for his decision to show Barça captain Lionel Messi the first red card of his club career.
Messi was dismissed at Seville’s Estadio La Cartuja after lashing out at Athletic striker Asier Villalibre in the closing stages of extra time, Gil Manzano opting to give the 33-year-old his marching orders after watching the incident on the pitchside monitor.
Messi in Gil Manzano handshake snub after 2018 LaLiga match
And that’s not the only history Gil Manzano has with Messi. In September 2018, an aggrieved Argentine refused to shake the official’s hand at the final whistle of a 2-2 LaLiga draw with Girona, after Barça were left incensed by the sending-off of defender Clément Lenglet.
The recent Super Cup final was the second major trophy decider that Gil Manzano has overseen – and both have involved Barcelona. In 2018, he was the man in the middle as Barça thumped Sevilla 5-0 in the Copa del Rey final to win the trophy for the fourth year in a row.
Youngest Spanish official to become FIFA referee
Gil was just 29 when he was named as a FIFA international referee, making him the youngest ever Spanish official to be promoted to the category. Since then, he has overseen 13 matches in the Europa League, nine in the Champions League, three in 2018 World Cup qualifying, four in Euro 2020 qualifying and three in the UEFA Nations League.
His experience outside of Spain’s domestic game also includes a February 2019 Greek Super League match between PAOK Thessaloniki and Olympiakos, which he was appointed to after the RFEF was asked to provide a non-Greek referee because of the fierce rivalry between the clubs.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona: live with AS English
You’ll be able to follow live-text coverage of Saturday’s Clásico with AS English. We’ll be building up to the game ahead of kick-off in Madrid, before taking you through all the action.