Real Madrid's pressures over VAR and refereeing come to light

Sergio Ramos sent messages to Rubiales when he was captain: "it's a disgrace"

2 min
Florentino Pérez and Sergio Ramos

BarcelonaThere had always been suspicions about Real Madrid's pressures on the Spanish Federation (RFEF) over refereeing, but until now they had not come to light. Beyond public statements of protest, after a specific match where controversial calls had been made, no details of what was happening behind the scenes was known. However, 'El Confidencial' has published some of the messages Sergio Ramos, when captain of Real Madrid, sent RFEF president Luis Rubiales in order to complain about the refereeing and tell him openly that they favoured Barça.

"Rubi, we are already starting to get seriously worried about the VAR issue, especially with Barça." "It's a complete disgrace and utterly blatant what the referees are doing." "Did you see Suarez's foul on the goalkeeper today in their second goal? It's a joke!" Ramos wrote to Rubiales in three consecutive WhatsApp messages, on January 20, 2019, after a match in which Barça beat Leganés 3-1 at the Camp Nou. As the messages show, there was controversy in that second goal due to a clash between Suárez and the Leganés goalkeeper.

While Ramos wrote in the heat of the moment. Rubiales' response came the next day and was cool. "Good afternoon, Sergio. You are the captain of the national team, you have played hundreds or thousands of matches and understand better than anyone else that sometimes there are different opinions about an event. As you well know, I do not go into these issues. We work every day so that the refereeing profession has more resources and its efficiency improves. Between all of us we have to try to improve our football. Best regards. See you soon."

The response, in Ramos' eyes, was "very politically correct", and the Madrid captain responded to Rubiales with an ironic "congratulations". To then complete the message. "I was expecting a personal opinion on what happened yesterday with Barça, which is a scandal and they are already going to win La Liga either way. I understand your position. A hug."

Interestingly, 2019 was the last year that Barça won the La Liga title. In 2020, 2021 and 2022 the titles stayed in the Spanish capital, twice with Real Madrid and once with Atlético.