While he’s not the most popular, there’s very little doubt that Mark Clattenburg is one of the best referees the Premier League has ever seen.
That much can be proved by the fact that he officiated both the 2016 European Championships final and the 2016 Champions League final.
However, earlier this year, he left England's top-flight to take up a role within the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.
Now that he’s not reffing a Premier League match every week, Clattenburg has a bit more time on his hands.
And he’s been using that time by performing a few speeches over dinner.
And during one of those speeches, Clattenburg made a rather incredible revelation about the Champions League final he reffed.
It was between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid - a match that finished 1-1 before Real triumphed on penalties.
But it wasn’t a great night for the officials.
Zinedine Zidane’s side opened the scoring through Sergio Ramos - although the Spaniard appeared to be in an offside position.
Then, in the second-half, Atleti were awarded a dubious penalty. Antoine Griezmann subsequently smashed his effort off the crossbar and it seems Clattenburg was glad it was missed.
Clattenburg's 2016 CL final revelation
David Walsh of the Sunday Times has produced a report of Clattenburg’s speech and has revealed that the ref admitted he was secretly glad Griezmann missed from the spot.
"Over dinner, he admits that if Real hadn't benefitted from a bad decision in the first half he probably wouldn't have given it [the Atleti penalty]," Walsh wrote.
"The best referees, he believes, make their decisions based on context and balance. This explains why there can never be "consistency" in the way football is refereed. It is the courage to apply the laws with empathy, says Clattenburg, that distinguishes top officials from those on the next rung on the ladder. Pepe, though, didn't think it was a penalty.
"Neither was Ramos's goal a goal", Clattenburg told him.
"When Griezmann's penalty hit the bar I was pleased because it had been a marginal call. In terms of the big picture, the penalty restored balance and made for a better game. Afterwards Real and Atletico were very complimentary about my performance".
Very, very interesting.
While Clattenburg’s point makes sense, the thought of a referee wanting a side to miss a penalty during a match they’re officiating is rather shocking.
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