Barcelona have won three of the four El Clasico’s this season.
Lionel Messi laid on the floor writhing in agony as referee Undiano Mallenco’s whistle brought the first half to an end in the second Clasico of the week. Almost an entire minute and a half had passed by the time Messi fell to the deck and the intense pace of the match did not as much allow us a replay of what had actually happened. That would change as the half-time break kicked in.
Slow-mo replays clearly focused on the duel between Ramos and Messi where both went for the ball, Ramos winning the duel but his trailing arm catching Messi in the face with him ending up with a bloodied mouth in the process.
“It should be a straight red”, declared Madrid based newspaper MARCA. But VAR was not even as much as consulted during the incident as Messi and Ramos squared up at each other’s faces trying to prove a point.
Second half followed and the incident would resurface online and in press conferences after the game once again. The Real Madrid skipper spoke after the game and clarified that he did not intend any of it.
“Messi took a bad knock but it was totally involuntary,” said Sergio Ramos. “There was nothing bad between us and it just happened.”
“Leo had blood in his mouth,” said Pique. “It was aggression.”
“Intensity does not have to be measured. I get along great with the Real Madrid players. But when you go out to the field you defend your colours and the rivalry is what you get. But once the game is over, the cordiality is mutual, the players respect us very much,” he said
While some people argued whether Ramos actually meant it, twitteratis and football journalists were quick to point out Ramos’ history with acts of aggression and a case of springing games to life by taking it in his own hands. And it is no surprise that Ramos has collected 25 red cards over his career and also amasses the most yellow cards in the history of La Liga.
Jose Mourinho, who now works as a pundit for beIN Sports also chimed in on the debate.
“I think in the first half, both teams when they had the ball, they did not hurt the opponent too much,” the former Manchester United boss said.
“There was no intensity on the defensive actions, with everybody playing in a low-medium block. It was not the temperature of a derby, of a Clasico that can settle the title,” he added.
“I think Sergio Ramos’ action probably is coming from a player that knows the game has to change. And probably he does it with the intention of creating a different temperature for the second half, because the game until then was really soft, in my opinion.”