Sunday’s Clasico referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez says his aim is to “minimise” mistakes in the game, while he hopes that no error from the officials proves decisive.
La Liga leaders Real Madrid host second-placed Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu in what is world football’s most watched domestic club fixture, and a match in which the spotlight is often on the officials with fans and pundits quick to criticise if they feel their team has been treated unfairly.
Hernandez Hernandez and his assistants took charge of last April’s Clasico, which Madrid won 2-1 at the Camp Nou without too much controversy, although they annoyed Barca earlier this season after missing a “ghost goal” during a 1-1 draw at Real Betis.
Hernandez Hernandez told AS that no referee ever has a perfect game and it is important that his own performance is always analysed so he can improve.
“We watched it [the Clasico] afterwards to analyse it,” Hernandez Hernandez said. “After every game you study your mistakes, and there are always mistakes, so as not to repeat them or minimise the possibilities.
“It is a privilege to do two Clasicos in a year. You can only enjoy the experience and hope the best team wins, and above all that it’s not due to our mistake.”
Madrid’s 4-2 Champions League quarterfinal second-leg win at home to Bayern Munich on Tuesday saw an erratic performance from referee Viktor Kassai, with Bayern angry at the sending off of Arturo Vidal and replays showing Cristiano Ronaldo’s first two goals should have been disallowed for offside.
Hernandez Hernandez accepted that Kassai had not had his best night, but said the experienced Hungarian official’s overall quality could not be questioned.
“I saw the game,” he said. “I can also make mistakes. You can have better or worse games, but Kassai’s CV and level are not in question. You can be critical but must have respect.”
Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti called for the use of Video Assistant Referee technology in such big games after his side’s defeat.
Asked for his views on the technology, Hernandez Hernandez said match officials would accept whatever decision the authorities made, while pointing out that there would always be “grey areas” where it would be up to interpretation.
“That is not up to us,” he said. “The referees have shown their capability to adapt to whatever comes. There are always grey areas, subject to interpretation, and not even watching it on video clarifies them. Others are black or white and video will show if you were correct or not.”
Hernandez Hernandez added it was a “privilege” for him and his team to take charge of Sunday’s Clasico as it puts them in the “shop window” and could lead to international recognition.
“We take all games with maximum professionalism, whatever teams are playing, but it would be a lie to say the Clasico is not special,” he said. “Every player aspires to play in games like this, every fan wants to see them, and all referees want to experience it.
“It is a trampoline, a global shop window to show that we are capable and that we can get international opportunities. It is a challenge and a privilege and I recognise the responsibility.”