Updates from Tuesday, March 25
Carlo Ancelotti defended the actions of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos on Tuesday after the Real Madrid pair were reported for their criticisms of referee Undiano Mallenco in the aftermath of the Clasico.
Ancelotti said, via Real Madrid TV's Phil Kitromilides:
Ancelotti "Cristiano and Sergio didn't show a lack of respect, just an opinion"— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) March 25, 2014
Ronaldo and Ramos were reported over their post-Clasico comments, which criticised ref Mallenco and hinted at a conspiracy theory against Madrid.
The pair both face action following the 4-3 loss to Barcelona, as reported by the Daily Mail's John Drayton:
Spain’s Referees’ Committee has sent the post-match comments of the duo to the governing body, who will now decide whether the players should be punished.
He's one of the best players in the world and the reigning Ballon d'Or winner. What more does Cristiano Ronaldo want?
Better officiating would be the answer to that question, as the Real Madrid star went on the offensive to slam the match referees in his club's 4-3 loss to Barcelona on Sunday.
The main bone of contention was Sergio Ramos' sending-off in the 63rd minute after fouling Neymar in the box. After the match, the Spanish defender contended that he didn't touch the Brazilian star, per Spanish paper AS:
Ramos: "It's always the same. I didn't touch Neymar. But there's no point talking about it, it changes nothing".— AS English (@English_AS) March 23, 2014
Gerardo Martino argued otherwise, per beIN Sport's Tancredi Palmeri:
Gerardo Martino: "The penalty on Neymar is undebatable"— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) March 23, 2014
The penalty allowed Lionel Messi to level the match at 3-3, which is what he did. Messi won the match from the penalty spot 21 minutes later, after Xabi Alonso brought down Andres Iniesta in the 18-yard box.
With two major decisions like that going against Real Madrid, you knew that the referee's performance would be a major storyline of the match.
Following the match, Ronaldo argued that Barca had an extra man on the pitch:
Cristiano: "What penalties...we played against 12 men"— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) March 23, 2014
He also felt that the referee didn't have the demeanor to handle such an important match:
Ronaldo: "We need a referee who's more relaxed. He was very poor".— AS English (@English_AS) March 23, 2014
Ronaldo: "This referee doesn't have the ability for this level of match".— AS English (@English_AS) March 23, 2014
The criticism didn't stop there, as Ronaldo alleged that there's a wider conspiracy afoot, per Bleacher Report UK:
With a comment like that, the Portuguese star will likely see some kind of rebuke from the league, whether it's monetary or a match suspension. It's one thing to speak about the match officials. It's something else entirely to float the idea that the match was fixed in favor of one club.
Sure, it comes in the heat of the moment after a contentious match, but Ronaldo is an experienced player who should know better.
With his level of star power, though, La Liga may be a bit wary of coming down too hard.
No matter the consequences, this all added another layer of intrigue to what was one of the most eventful El Clasico battles in recent memory.