Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane welcomes VAR after disputed Clasico

The ESPN FC crew delve into the controversial decisions in El Clasico that saw the derby end in a 2-2 draw.
Barcelona and Real Madrid battled to a 2-2 draw in a Clasico that saw tempers flare and Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale score brilliant goals.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane welcomed the addition of video review from next season after a Clasico filled with controversial decisions ended in a 2-2 draw at Barcelona on Sunday.

A rip-roaring 90 minutes included goals for Luis Suarez, Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale, but the performance of referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez sparked most debate.

Hernandez Hernandez sent off Barca right-back Sergi Roberto just before half-time, ruled out a Barca goal for a debatable offside, and missed Madrid left-back Marcelo drawing an apparently clear penalty amid a litany of mistakes which angered players and fans on both sides.

La Liga announced in November that a video assistant referee (VAR) system will be implemented from the 2018-19 campaign, and Zidane suggested its presence in the Clasico may have altered the result.

“I am not going to talk about the refs, I never do,” Zidane said after the game. “Next year it will change, with VAR, and we will see how a game like this ends up.”

Neither side was very happy with the work of Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez.

The former galactico believed his side had actually played better in the first half, before they had the man advantage and Cristiano Ronaldo left the game with a sprained ankle.

“We played a good game, in the first half, 11-v-11, making chances to score,” he said. “The second, 10-v-11, was a bit worse for us. We should have had a bit more patience, but we did not lose, and we must congratulate Barcelona.”

Zidane also said it was more important that players on both sides had put on an evening of entertainment — despite Barca having already wrapped up the title — than any arguments pundits on either side might try to inflame.

“In the end it is a draw, and in the end it looks like Barca will end the season unbeaten,” Zidane said. “I would have liked to win, although it was a good game for the fans, there was nothing in play between Barca and Madrid today, but we saw a good game with intensity, with goals, from both teams.

“Everyone who likes football can be happy with a game like that. Always the football is more important than the ‘controversies’ people want to make.”

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan