Juventus and Bayern Munich are two teams that have suffered through bad refereeing decisions.
Real Madrid are, without a shadow of a doubt, the most successful club in European football. They have won a total of 12 Champions League titles and are well on course to making it 13 this year.
However, one criticism that has been leveled at the side is that they somehow manage to get the rub of the green when it comes to contentious refereeing decisions.
Over the past few years, there have been numerous times that Real Madrid have benefitted from an incorrect decision, and here we look at 5 times refereeing decisions went in Real Madrid’s favour in big Champions League matches:
#4 Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich, 2017/18 UCL Semi-Final
Just like in the 2016/17 season, Bayern Munich found themselves chasing the game after succumbing to a 2-1 loss at home in the first leg. However, they got off to a flying start, Joshua Kimmich giving them a lead early. Madrid though equalized to leave the game precariously poised.
With the scores level at 1-1 and Bayern on the charge, Kimmich attempted to deliver a cross into the box only for it to be stopped in its path by Marcelo’s hand. A clear handball and obvious penalty, but the referee did not spot it.
Marcelo, by his own admission, felt he got away with one. “It is what it is. It was difficult for the ref, because there were many players blocking his view, but if I came here to tell you that the ball didn’t touch my hand, I’d be lying to you.”
#3 Real Madrid vs Juventus, 2017/18 UCL Quarter-Final
Real Madrid, despite having won the two previous editions of the UCL, did not enter the competition this time around as favorites. They lived up to the non-favorites tag, finishing second in a group consisting of Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund and APOEL.
They managed to overcome PSG pretty easily in the R16 before coming up against the side they had beaten in the final of the previous edition, Juventus.
Juventus had glorious chances in the first leg but spurned them, eventually ending up three goals and a man down. However, late in stoppage time, Cuadrado had a great chance to get a goal back but he was brought down by Carvajal in the box after taking a shot on. The referee though remained uninterested and awarded a goal kick. Madrid won the tie 3-0 and that proved to be a crucial decision as they lost the second leg 3-1 but managed to progress on aggregate.
#4 Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich, 2016/17 UCL Quarter-Final
“For the first time, I feel this mad anger inside of me. We’ve been cheated. We’ve been cheated, in the true sense of the word.” These words were uttered by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern CEO, after Munich’s exit at the hands of Real Madrid 6-3 on aggregate.
Rummenigge was right to be aggrieved as decision after decision went against Bayern on the night. Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, they needed all the luck they could get in the second leg. However, it was not to be.
In the 66th minute, with Bayern 1-0 up, Robert Lewandowski was wrongly given offside when set free 1 on 1 vs the keeper. 13 minutes later, Casemiro, who was on a yellow card, ran into Robben and caught his knee, a challenge deserving of a second yellow but he remained on the pitch.
However, it was what happened in the 84th minute that changed the course of the match. Arturo Vidal, who had already been booked, launched into a tackle on Asensio, winning the ball cleanly. However, the referee did not think along those lines and sent the Chilean off.
To make matters worse, in extra time, 2 of the goals scored by Ronaldo were from offside positions.
#1 Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid, 2015/16 UCL Final
Arguably the biggest decision to have gone in Real Madrid’s favour in the Champions League came when the side faced off against local rivals Atletico in the final of the 2015/16 edition.
While Real Madrid came into the final on the back of a 1-0 aggregate win against English opponents Manchester City, Atletico had sneaked past Bayern on the away goals rule.
In the final, Real opened the scoring through Sergio Ramos, but in hindsight, the goal shouldn’t have stood. Ramos got on the end of a Gareth Bale flick-on, but he was in an offside position in the first place.
While Atletico would go on to equalise through Carrasco, they would fall short in the ensuing penalty shootout.
In this case, it is impossible to blame the referee or the linesman since it was an extremely tight call, one which could have gone either way, but ultimately, it did go Real Madrid’s way.