Robin van Persie's red card in Barca v Arsenal and epic interview in 2011 remembered

There was huge controversy in Arsenal’s Champions League last-16 tie with Barcelona in 2011.

Arsenal produced a great display to win the first leg 2-1 in London.

They had a great chance to progress through to the last eight with the score 1-1 (3-2 to Arsenal on aggregate) after 55 minutes played at Camp Nou.

But then disaster struck for the English outfit.

Robin van Persie was sent clear on goal but Massimo Busacca, the referee on the night, blew for an offside.

The Dutchman was winding up for a shot and, seconds after the whistle blew, he had a pop at goal.

Busacca adjudged that Van Persie was time-wasting. The Arsenal striker was given his second yellow card of the night and he was dismissed.

Van Persie was shocked, as was Arsene Wenger and the rest of Arsenal’s players. They protested the decision but to no avail.

It was an extremely harsh decision and is one of the most controversial in Champions League history. View it below…

Arsenal couldn’t hold on as a quick-fire double from Xavi and Lionel Messi sent the hosts through.

Van Persie, despite being sent off, agreed to speak to the media after the game.

And his interview was epic. View Van Persie’s interview below…

He said: “In my opinion, it was a total joke the sending off. How can I hear his whistle with 95,000 people jumping up? How can I hear that, for God’s sake? Please explain that to me.”

Geoff Shreeves then tells Van Persie there was one second between the whistle and Van Persie’s shot.

“It makes it even worse because I could understand the ref’s view if it was four, five, six seconds and you chip the ball or something. This way, one second between his whistle and the shot, is just a joke.

“He’s been bad all evening. He’s been a joke all evening. I don’t know why he’s here tonight – honestly, I think it’s a joke. Unbelievable.

“We feel betrayed. Everyone fought really hard. At 1-1 it was all to play for. The referee killed the game.”

11 years on and the red card remains one of the most controversial refereeing decisions in Champions League history.

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