The never-ending debate on whether referees favor either Real Madrid or Barcelona has been reignited by former Spanish ref Eduardo Iturralde González in an interaction with fans via his Twitter feed.
There has been widespread criticism aimed at Spanish refs for allegedly having something to do with the end results of some games featuring Los Blancos and Los Blaugranas. Today, the former ref added fuel to that fire with his recent words.
A fan on Twitter asked Iturralde González how many refs qualified to be considered as Real Madrid or Barcelona fans. The former ref hinted that, even if he doesn't feel it would have an effect on their judgement, a vast majority of the refs working in Spain have some sort of sympathy for Los Blancos.
Here's how the exchange happened:
Question: "I know you will say that refs are not biased and I believe you, but based on your professional experience, how many would you say are Real Madrid supporters and how many support Barcelona?
Iturralde González replied "90% for Real Madrid, and 10% for Barcelona."
The ref extended his answer with the following statement.
"Whether Barcelona fans like it or not, 70% of the population supports Real Madrid, excluding Catalunya, of course. There are more Barcelona supporters nowadats, because people have picked up on Guardiola's titles, but before Messi's era, up to 70% of Spain's citizens supported Real Madrid, Iturralde González added.
The former ref, during a game involving Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid.
Asked about which team he preferred, Iturralde González admitted he is partial to a Spanish team, but he is not a fan of either one of these Spanish titans.
"I couldn't care less about those two teams. I'm an Athletic fan," the former ref added.
Even if his words caused quite a stir, the former referee ruled out that his colleagues intentionally enter the pitch with the idea of having a hand in the end result.
"You have to be a professional to be a ref, and I know none of my colleagues would be willing to put their reputation on the line to help their team. For example, everyone knew I was an Athletic fan, and I would not help them in any form. In fact, I'd end up making a wrong call against them trying to be fair," Iturralde González concluded.