The vast majority of referees in Spain support Real Madrid, according to a former La Liga official.
“Around 90% go with Real and 10% with Barcelona,” Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez, who oversaw hundreds of La Liga matches, told Cadena Ser, according to ESPN’s Sam Marsden.
He added: “Whether Barca (fans) like it or not, 70% of the Spanish population, excluding Catalonia, are Real Madrid supporters. There are more Barca fans these days because the younger generation has seen the trophies they won under (Pep) Guardiola. But before the Lionel Messi era, how many people supported Madrid in Spain? About 70%?”
Gonzalez, who was raised in the Basque country, grew up a fan of Athletic Bilbao. He said “everyone” knew about his allegiance.
“I would go against them to try and be fair,” he added.
Madrid and Barcelona still protested an array of decisions in recent years. The Blaugrana filed a grievance with the Royal Spanish Football Federation last December after they were denied a penalty against Real Sociedad. Los Blancos, meanwhile, complained about two penalties that weren’t given in El Clasico. Madrid even posted an official statement about the incidents against defender Raphael Varane in December.
Barcelona remain two points clear atop the La Liga table as teams return to training.