Former La Liga referee Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez says Spain’s Clasico is a relatively easy match to officiate, despite the passion it inspires.
Barcelona against Real Madrid is one of those fixtures fans across the globe look out for; it is not only televised, but analysed and scrutinised. And if the referee gets it wrong, he will be criticised.
But Iturralde Gonzalez, a veteran of several Clasico clashes, feels the referee of Sunday’s match at Camp Nou, Carlos Delgado Ferreiro, should relax and enjoy the experience.
“If I had to give a piece of advice to Delgado Ferreiro, I would tell him to enjoy the Clasico because it is one of those games that should be enjoyed,” Iturralde Gonzalez told Goal.com.
“There are more stars on the pitch than up in the sky. He will enjoy it a great deal; it’s one of those games with very few offsides for the assistants – in fact, it’s one of the easiest games to officiate at all.
“There can be a lot of repercussions in the media. This country stops for the Clasico and there is a lot of pressure and tension, but refereeing it is very easy.
“It’s much harder to officiate at the end of the season when teams can go down – those are difficult games to take charge of. It’s just that they receive less media spotlight. But there are more nerves, there’s more tension.”
Iturralde, who presided over three Clasicos including Barcelona’s 5-0 win over Jose Mourinho’s Madrid in November 2010, claims he misses the adrenaline of overseeing big games.
“I live football with the same intensity but in a different way,” he said. “I have a dental laboratory, where I have always worked, but I miss football. It’s my passion and if I told you I didn’t miss it, I’d be lying.
“But more than the football, I miss the travelling and the moment when you step out on to the pitch, the tension in the stadiums. That’s what I miss most.
“Now I follow it as a fan – I don’t have those butterflies in my stomach that I had every weekend or the pains in my legs when I would go to sleep after the game.”