The past Champions League semifinal encounter between arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona was shrouded in controversy as Pepe was shown a straight red card for his tackle on Dani Alves in the second half of their first leg encounter.
The ejection caused great irritation and displeasure for Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, who vocalized his opinion both during a tirade on the pitch itself (getting himself ejected in the process) as well as derogatory comments he made at the post-match press conference that included pinpointing Barcelona's Unicef charity sponsorship as possibly influencing games in their favor.
The despondent Madrid coach went on to both congratulate and criticize Barca head coach, Pep Guardiola, saying that he should be ashamed of the way he won the Champions League trophy in 2009 (controversial win against Chelsea), as well as making it to this year's final by also beating Arsenal and Madrid in controversial fashion.
Jose's opinions were also reiterated by fellow Madrid members Ronaldo, Casillas and Ramos. Ronaldo, in a post-match interview claimed that when playing against Barcelona, it is always expected that they get the benefit of the referee decisions and that it was nothing new to him.
Often times in intense rivalry between teams, the losing team's players will always come up with irrational excuses accompanied by emotional outbursts and referee finger-pointing as the prime reasons why they were not victorious. This is nothing new and is human nature on the part of Jose and Real Madrid.
However, after reviewing several videos of bogus referee calls in favor of Barcelona, video evidence would suggest the Jose Mourinho has a valid argument and case. It is no longer a case of just plain sour grapes; instead, Barcelona's last few Champions League campaigns have been shrouded in a sea of controversial calls that helped them progress in the tournament over the last several years.
The video evidence that has been compiled for the purpose of this article would suggest that Barcelona have been somewhat fortunate to have received game-changing referee decisions in their favour in each of the past three Champions League campaigns from 2009-2011.
Add to this the fact that all four games were also in the knockout stages of the tournament, where a bad call from the ref could change the outcome of the game, and suddenly Mourinho's once absurd, out of line statements don't seem so irrational after all.
In fact, could there actually be any truth to the "Chosen One" Barcelona conspiracy theory? And are the referee's and officials assisting Barcelona's win in crucial Champions League games?
Let's look at four games where the video evidence suggest that Barcelona were on the beneficial side for several crucial referee decisions that ended up making a big impact in the Champions League ties they were involved in.