A former La Liga referee has revealed that 90% of Spanish officials are Real Madrid supporters, while the other 10% lean towards Barcelona.
While there is often mistrust over favouritism among referees, ex-official Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez has claimed that there is a clear favourite in El Clasico.
Iturralde retired in 2012 after refereeing over 300 games in the Spanish top flight, and refereed Spain’s major derby on three occasions.
In an interview with Cadena SER, the Spaniard explained: “Around 90% go with Real and 10% with Barcelona, whether Barça [fans] like it or not, 70% of the Spanish population, excluding Catalunya, are Real Madrid supporters.”
Iturralde went on to offer an explanation as to why, as he stated: “There are more Barça fans these days because the younger generation has seen the trophies they won under [Pep] Guardiola. But before the ‘Lionel Messi era,’ how many people supported Madrid in Spain? About 70%?”
It is no surprise to hear that the success of Pep Guardiola’s remarkable side between 2008-2012 created a surge in the following for Barça, yet the wider nation still appears loyal to Madrid.
Iturralde has previously spoken about the fact that referees are likely to have a team they support, as he explained (as quoted by ESPN): “We don’t come from Mars. You become a referee because you like football and there’s no one that likes football that doesn’t have a team.
“I’m lucky to have been born in Bilbao. Everyone is Athletic there. But in the rest of Spain, the majority are Real Madrid of Barcelona fans, because they’re the teams that win. And that’s how it is. And the majority are Real Madrid.”