Sergio Ramos hit out at referee Jose Munuera and the video assistant referee (VAR) system following Real Madrid's 2-0 loss to Real Sociedad on Sunday, asking for "fairness" after two crucial decisions went against Los Blancos.
The hosts were denied a penalty and lost winger Lucas Vazquez to a red card, and Ramos said both decisions should have been handled better, per Goal's Sacha Pisani:
"The referee played a big role in things. I've always defended the VAR system, but it has to be improved because what we've seen was scandalous.
"He could have awarded the penalty and then consulted the VAR. After seeing the penalty incidents in the dressing room, all we ask for is fairness. There are times when we're punished for our behaviour on the pitch and the referees' committee should do the same with the officials. The VAR is in place but you've got to know how to use it and consult it.
"Lucas Vazquez's sending-off was very harsh. Never before have I seen a player shown a second yellow for something like that, where you're in the middle of the pitch with three Real Madrid players around you."
Willian Jose gave the visitors an early lead and Ruben Pardo secured the win late for the Txuri Urdin. Things could have gone differently had two decisions gone Real's way, however.
Vazquez was sent off just past the hour mark for a lunge in midfield that was judged to be a second bookable offence.
As you can see in the official match highlights, it was a silly foul to commit (click here for the video).
The penalty decision involving Vinicius Jr. and Geronimo Rulli was even more controversial. The Brazilian forward rounded the goalkeeper before going down, and it initially looked like he did so due to contact.
Munuera didn't refer to VAR and called for play to continue. The decision was an odd one, and while slow-motion replays and photos showed Rulli may have gotten a touch on the ball, football writers remained in doubt:
There's no conclusive evidence whether a penalty should or should not have been awarded, but the fact the official didn't even check for contact was surprising.
The result halted all of the momentum Los Blancos gained during the FIFA Club World Cup. They sit in fifth place in the standings, one point behind Deportivo Alaves, and trail champions Barcelona by a double-digit margin.
As The Spanish Football Podcast shared, there is little optimism surrounding the club:
The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast
Today's 🇪🇸⚽️ headlines: 🗞️ "'The Bernabeu emptying out with good reason" (Marca) 🗞️ "An excellent Vinicius and a dejected Madrid" (As) 🗞️ "Superleaders" (Sport) 🗞️ “10 point lead" (Mundo Deportivo) More in the #tsfp Morning Paper Review for patrons ➡️ https://t.co/sHxCbl4v8R https://t.co/9JbovkLR1O
The upcoming schedule also looks brutal, with La Liga contests against Real Betis, Sevilla, Espanyol, Alaves and Atletico Madrid before the trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax in the Champions League.
Santiago Solari's interim-tag was removed in November, but his role could come under serious pressure if the club's struggles persist.