Fernando Torres went from hero to villain in the space of 10 minutes during Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final clash between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
The Spaniard opened the scoring in the 25th minute but quickly received two yellow cards and had to watch his team surrender their advantage to lose 2-1.
And Torres has now hit out at UEFA and referee Felix Brych in a scathing attack of the German’s ability.
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The former Liverpool forward admitted it was one of his “worst days as a footballer” as two Luis Suarez goals ensured Barcelona have the advantage heading into next week’s return leg in Madrid.
Atletico looked composed after Torres’ goal but two moments of idiocy turned the tie on its head. First, he scythed Neymar down with the Brazilian heading nowhere. Then, just six minutes later, he bundled into Sergio Busquets.
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Torres said post-game, per Sport: “On the personal side I am very sad and feel very responsible. With 11 it would have been different.
“It's a complicated situation for me. It's one of my worst days as a footballer.
“They were two plays which could be a card or not. What's a shame is that UEFA are more worried about the colours of the shirts and not choosing a referee of the right level.”
Suarez could have been sent off
Atleti are by no means out of the tie - they probably would have accepted a 2-1 defeat before kick-off - but their manager and players certainly felt hard done by.
Suarez could have been sent off for two separate incidents - he kicked out at Juanfran in the first half before clashing with Filipe Luis in the second - and it was only through fear of reprisals that Diego Simeone didn’t elaborate on Suarez’s actions.
The Atleti manager was asked who he blamed for Torres’ dismissal, to which he said: “Certainly not Torres.”
So, in other words, Brych.
“I can’t say what I want,” Simeone continued, per the Mirror. “I need to think about what I'm saying so I don't say anything I shouldn’t. There were more than two.”
Luis thinks Barca are protected
Luis, on the other hand, didn’t hold back in his criticism of UEFA.
“The sending off is totally unjust and changed the game,” the former Chelsea defender said.
“Barcelona are protected. When you play against them you realise that they are a very powerful club. You realise the fear when Barcelona could get knocked out. It would hurt UEFA a lot.
“Against Real Madrid there was a similar moment [from Suarez]. I don’t know what they have to do for someone to send one of them off.
“Fernando, two fouls, two cards. The referee has not seen many Madrid-Barcelona derbies. There would be eight red cards.
“I don't don't know what [a Barcelona player] has to do to get sent off.
“They sent me off [in La Liga fixture] correctly, but the other team isn’t treated the same. That’s what hurts.”