FC Barcelona – La Liga Hugo Cerezo gives his opinion
The Clasico hadn’t even finished and Ronald Koeman was already furious, having been reprimanded for protesting Ferland Mendy‘s ‘challenge’ on Martin Braithwaite. He couldn’t believe that Jesus Gil Manzano or VAR hadn’t given a penalty, but it was completely normal, because he surely saw the contact live and determined that it wasn’t enough to award a penalty.
The match ended and Gerard Pique appeared, giving his trip to Madrid some purpose as he protested to the officials. The central defender wasn’t ready to play, but he was ready to shout from the stands all game. He applauded when he saw the four minutes extra time go up and he waited for Gil Manzano. Then Luka Modric came over to reproach him for having a go at the ref. The Croat knows Barcelona‘s style.
The Braithwaite incident that wasn’t even very clear and the amount of added time was enough to make Barcelona criticise the officials heavily, and it even led to Koeman walking out of an interview. It’s nothing new for the Dutchman to complain about officials as he’s been doing it nearly all season, and it’s nothing new for Pique to have a go either. After the COVID-19-enforced lockdown, he was back to his old tricks: “After seeing the first two matches, it’s difficult to see [Real] Madrid losing any points.”
This habit of blaming the ref has to stop, and it’s extremely difficult to hide the elephant in the room: that Barcelona have only beaten one of the big sides all season in Sevilla; that Lionel Messi hasn’t been decisive in any big matches; that Antoine Griezmann is still underperforming; that the defence is still shaky without Pique; that Koeman has lost both matches against Zinedine Zidane; and despite their great run, they lost at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. They find themselves in third place once again and will now be hoping that Atletico Madrid drop points so they don’t drop allow a four-point gap to open up.
Barcelona now have to turn their focus to the Copa del Rey, the first trophy they can win this season – the first in the last two years. This is a must-win match if they want to fight for LaLiga Santander until the end, because a defeat to Athletic Club in Seville would open a whole can of worms.