Barcelona will face the challenge of Ernesto Valverde’s Athletic Club at San Mamés on the 25th matchday of La Liga campaign with Jesús Gil Manzano set to officiate the game. However, his appointment has stirred up some controversy ahead of this clash.
Gil Manzano has a history with Barcelona, having refereed them in 34 matches, resulting in 21 wins for the Garnet and the Blue, seven draws, and six losses. He has also shown more than 10 red cards to Blaugrana players, making him one of the strictest referees in the history of the club.
The most recent controversial incident occurred when he sent off Robert Lewandowski against Osasuna and included the Pole’s nose gesture in the report, leaving him with a three-match suspension.
He also red-carded Gerard Piqué in the same match for his protests regarding his controversial decisions, resulting in a four-match suspension that Gerard Piqué did not have to serve as he was playing his last match for the Catalan giants.
The controversy surrounding Gil Manzano’s appointment as the match official for this upcoming clash comes after these incidents. However, Gil Manzano has also had positive outings with the Catalan giants, as his decisions during the quarter-final of the Copa del Rey against Real Sociedad were up to the mark and did not receive any criticism.
The appointment of Gil Manzano has become even more crucial, with four key Barcelona players, Busquets, Kessie, Raphinha, and Ferran just one yellow card away from being suspended for the next match and this next match happens to be against their arch-rivals Real Madrid.
With already a depleted squad due to unfortunate injuries, the clash against Athletic Club is even more consequential for Xavi’s team, and the Cules will be hoping for a fair and exciting game, with the controversial choice of referee aside.