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Referee Juan Martinez Munuera gave a game-changing penalty on Saturday with the scores level at 1-1, consulting VAR before pointing to the spot after Clement Lenglet pulled the shirt of Sergio Ramos. The Real captain converted as his side registered a 3-1 victory.
However SPORT have claimed that Martinez comes from a family with "deep Madridista ties".
It's alleged that his father, Juan Roman, not only co-founded the Benidorm branch of the Real supporters' club - but that Juan Ramon (a former referee in the Spanish third tier) was known to officiate matches wearing a Real Madrid shirt underneath his ref's uniform. Wow.
Tying in to the family affair, Juan Ramon's other son, Miguel Martinez, was a linesman in Saturday's El Clasico, lining up for the clash between La Liga's giants alongside his brother.
Nobody is suggesting that the brothers officiated Saturday's El Clasico with 'Ramos 4' shirts under their officials' uniforms. But Barca are still clearly upset and have submitted a complaint to Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales about the performance of the officials.
Ronald Koeman certainly seemed to concur post-match. The Barca boss told BarcaTV: "Every decision goes against us. In five games there have been none in our favour. I don't think it's a penalty. VAR in Spain only acts against Barcelona."
The actual penalty decision itself does not appear a grave injustice on first viewing. French centre-back Lenglet clearly has a hold of Ramos's shirt, but some fans have suggested he was being pushed and mauled before the ball arrived in the Barca box - and that Ramos made the most of Lenglet's handful of shirt by throwing himself theatrically to the pitch.
Sergio Ramos winning a battle of the dark arts inside the penalty area? Now we have heard it all before.
I'm not gonna say it WASN'T a penalty. An experienced player like Ramos will make the most of a tug on his shirt. And this is the lenglet guy who some fans think is 'WORLD CLASS'. He isn't Barcelona level. pic.twitter.com/Jqbk6dw74Z
- ABHI :keycap_ten: (@AbsFcb) October 25, 2020
Juan Martinez Munuera was also in charge when Barcelona exited last season's Copa del Rey to Athletic Bilbao in February. So perhaps the Catalan club's complaint relates to a long-standing concern rather than a one-off decision.
There is also a general paranoia among some Barca fans that officials tend to favour Real Madrid, after several decisions went their way during last season's Liga title run-in.
Whatever the outcome of the complaint, it won't change the fact that Barcelona are currently 12th in the table, six points behind Madrid and with plenty of problems of their own making right now.
Image credit: PA Images
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