El Clásico Preview – The Ref

23 Nov

Eduardo Iturralde González is the man charged with officiating El Clásico. The 42 year old Basque dentist is known for being quite unsparing with his bookings, and lacks many friends around the league. Last season, he led all La Liga referees with 102 yellow cards, 15 more than the next guy. He averaged 6 cards a match, which ranked second for referees officiating at least 10 matches.

This season he’s no better. 22 yellow cards in only 3 matches including 1 straight red. His average is up to 7.33 yellow cards a match, ranking him 4th among active officials.

Monday will be his third clásico. Both previous matches saw Barcelona defeat Madrid 3-0 in 2004/05 and 2005/06. (The latter was the very match we celebrated last week when Ronaldinho was applauded off the pitch by the Madrid faithful.)

Historically, here is how he’s fared officiating both clubs:

31 matches
20 wins, 7 draws, 4 losses
4 players sent off, 9 opponents
10 penalties in favor, 6 against

Real Madrid
36 matches
22 wins, 3 draws, 11 defeats
6 players sent off, 7 opponents
10 penalties in favor, 6 against

Let’s all hope that he is not the main focus on Tuesday. We all know the tensions and competitive edge for both clubs will be full tilt. Any thought of nerves or cagey performances should be thrown by the wayside. There will be fouls and plenty of  physical play. Iturralde must issue his bookings cautiously, or the entire ebb-and-flow of the match will be ruined.

(Statistics courtesy of statbunker.com)


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