The highlight for any top-level referee is to be given the honour to officiate a major final.
To be in charge of a World Cup final or a Champions League final is as good as it gets for any official.
Unfortunately for English ref Mark Clattenburg, when he took charge of the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in 2016, his team made a rather high profile mistake.
Real took the lead through Sergio Ramos after 15 minutes but, in his column for the Daily Mail earlier today, Clattenburg admitted they got it wrong.
“In that final Real Madrid went 1-0 up in the first half but the goal was slightly offside and we realised at half-time, Clattenburg wrote in the Daily Mail. “It was a hard call and my assistant missed it.”
“I gave Atletico a penalty early in the second half when Pepe fouled Fernando Torres,” he recalled. “Pepe was furious and said to me in perfect English: ‘Never a penalty, Mark.’
“I said to him: ‘Your first goal shouldn’t have stood.’ It shut him up.”
Antoine Griezmann smashed the bar from the resulting penalty but a late Yannick Carrasco equaliser forced the game into extra-time and, ultimately, penalties where Real Madrid won their 11th European Cup.
After Clattenburg’s comments about Real’s offside goal made headlines, Atletico Madrid responded on Twitter.
They screenshotted three Spanish articles relating to Clattenburg’s confession and simply tweeted the thinking face emoji.
Of course, there was no VAR back in those days to help the officials.
But if that final had taken place in the last couple of years, Ramos’ goal would never stand.
And it seems Atleti still aren’t over it.
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