It has been a tough few days for Barcelona. Despite staying unbeaten in their three games so far, their slip-up against Sevilla has opened the door for Real Madrid to catch them at the top of the table.
Zinedine Zidane’s side won both of their two games and can move level with Barcelona with a win over Real Sociedad on Sunday, but there has been more than an air of good fortune about Los Blancos’ recent success. VAR has been regularly involved, and rarely has the system penalised Madrid.
Some fans see Los Blancos’ fortune as little more than coincidence, but not Gerard Piqué, who seemingly believes there could be a campaign against Barcelona by the referees.
“It will be very difficult to win this league, because it does not depend on us. I see it as difficult for Real Madrid to lose points. Seeing how their first two games have gone, it will be difficult,” Piqué said after the 0-0 draw with Sevilla.
Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, completely disputed the defender’s insinuation.
But what’s he on about? Well, here are six recent (and controversial) decisions that seem to have sparked the controversial comments…
It took Real Madrid just four minutes to open the scoring in their first game back against Eibar. Toni Kroos’ spectacular strike was fine, but the problem was that Karim Benzema looked offside in the build-up.
It was one of those ludicrously tight decisions which needed a VAR check, and despite the fact that the Frenchman looked offside, no call was made.
Benzema got away with it, but Nélson Semedo didn’t.
Two days after Madrid’s win over Eibar, Semedo fired in a cross against Leganés from which Antoine Griezmann converted, but the Barcelona right-back was deemed to be stood in an offside position.
It was as tight as the Benzema call, but Barcelona were penalised.
Real picked up a 3-0 victory over Valencia, but it could have been so different if Rodrigo’s goal (which came while the game was goalless) has been allowed.
The goal was ruled out as Maxi Gómez was found to have been offside when the ball was played through to Rodrigo, despite the Uruguayan not actually touching it or even attempting to.
The referee was called to view the incident on a pitchside monitor – the first time an official has done so for an offside this season.
Sergio Ramos is no stranger to being booked, but he seemed to get away with one against Valencia as he caught Ferran Torres directly in the face with his shoulder.
The incident was not reviewed and Ramos was not spoken to by the officials.
Away from VAR and focusing on the on-field officials, Piqué was left shocked when he was handed a yellow card in the first half of the goalless draw with Sevilla.
It was Piqué’s first foul of the game, and the centre-back believed it was unfair to caution him straight away when other players get away with more than that.
Shortly after being booked, Piqué was also called up for a foul on Sergio Reguilón, even though the Sevilla left-back looked to have instigated the contact.
There were some who accused Reguilón of diving, and Piqué seemed to share that sentiment as he questioned why the decision was not being reviewed by the VAR.
Did I mention Reguilón is on loan from Real Madrid?
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