Cristiano Ronaldo was furious with the officiating during Real Madrid's 4-3 defeat to Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday night and blamed the outcome on "unbelievable decisions", before even suggesting some kind of conspiracy against the Santiago Bernabeu club.
Lionel Messi was sensational in the game and scored a hat-trick to make the title race in Spain as close as it has been for years. Barcelona are now just a single point behind Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid and will be confident they can now push on to retain their crown.
Two of Messi's goals were penalties and both decisions did not go down well with Los Blancos stars, though there has been little consensus by commentators to suggest any of the decisions were poor. Sergio Ramos was shown a red card for bringing down Neymar when the Brazilian was clean through, while the game-winning penalty was awarded for a Xabi Alonso foul on Andres Iniesta that may have been considered soft.
"It is difficult because a lot of people did not want us to win and Barcelona would have been out of it. Maybe they don't want Real Madrid to win this Liga," Ronaldo said after the match.
"We were 3-2 up and controlling the game. The referee made some unbelievable decisions, but you have to carry on. There were a lot of errors in one match. In a Real Madrid-Barcelona game you have to have a referee who is up to the game. In my opinion he was not up to a match of this stature.
"I looked at him and he was pale, that's because he was so nervous and he was unable to make the right decisions. A referee has to be relaxed in order to do as well as possible. It makes me think that matches are not only won on the pitch, but also with a little help off of it."
There is no indication yet if the Spanish FA will take action over the Portuguese's quotes, but his belief that Barcelona's victory was helped by the referee may seem puzzling to some. Ronaldo gave Madrid the lead in the 55th minute from the penalty spot after the referee adjudged him to have been fouled by Dani Alves, though the contact, if any, actually occurred outside of the penalty area.
Real Madrid now face a tough trip away to Sevilla in their next game on Wednesday, which is unlikely to be an easy victory. Meanwhile, Barcelona host Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid are at home to Osasuna, all on the same evening.
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