Referee are usually seen as a figure of authority, who are tasked with the duty of officiating a match, they’re usually four officials according to the rules that govern the game, which includes the referee, two assistant referees, and the fourth official, the main referee has full authority and is aided by other officials in enforcing the ‘Law of The Game’.
During the early days of football, before referees were introduced, football teams relied on the spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship to keep the game going smoothly, as the disputes began to escalate during the 1860s and 70’s thereabout, officials were introduced to enforce the law, but it wasn’t until 1881 that objective and authoritative official, ‘The Referee’ began to be in charge of matches.
Ever since referees are introduced into the game, football managers and players have been in tandem with each other on the pitch, when things don’t go the way of the managers or players, referees are constantly criticized for making mistakes in a game.
More so, one thing about referee is that managers or players rarely praised them after a game, as such when they make mistakes or have a poor day, they’re often time called out to be controversial or biased.
The abuses referees received from the managers-players in a game are often verbal abuse or threat from fans when they make a call that doesn’t favor a team, in regards to that, we’ve seen referee and a player face off in disagreement for a decision that doesn’t favor the team or player.
In other words, meet ‘Gerard Pique & Gil Manzano’ A player and a referee who are bitter adversaries
To start with, I do not think there is any football enthusiast that doesn’t know who Gerard Pique is, the 33 years old is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a center back for Barcelona, in Spain, he also represented ‘La Furia Roja’ 102 times, making his debut in 2009.
Pique is considered to be one of the best defenders in the world, having played an integral part in Spain triumph at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012 which they won respectively.
As for the referee, the 36 years old Jesus Gil Manzano, is also a Spanish football referee who officiates in the Spanish Primera Division, made his La Liga debut in 2012 in a game between Malaga and Real Madrid, Manzano also officiated in the 2013-14 Copa Del Rey quarter-final game between Racing Santander and Real Sociedad, where Racing refused to play after one minute into the match.
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Past meeting between Pique’s Barcelona and Gil Manzano has always been an inhospitable relationship, and Pique has never been impressed by the officiating decisions of Manzano which the Catalan side believes, he has allegedly always been in favor of Real Madrid in recent time, and among those who have been very vocal and often shown is frustration is the Barcelona center-back.
Gil Manzano has officiated Barcelona match 23 times, with 15 wins for the Catalan side, five draws, 3 defeats, and 6 red cards, prior to Barcelona match between Athletic Bilbao, Pique insinuated that referees were favoring Real Madrid, and to corroborate that assertion Los Blancos were involved in a controversial win in their match between Real Sociedad last week Sunday.
“From what we’ve seen in the last two matchdays, it will be difficult for Real Madrid to drop points.” -Pique
On Tuesday, Manzano was appointed to be in charge of the match between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, which looks like a match that could bring back past memories of Barcelona matches which ended in a tensed situation which he has officiated, matches that have seen Pique and Manzano been at the center of attention this season was Barcelona visit to the Anoeta, home turf of Real Sociedad.
The match between the two teams ended in a draw, in that regard a formal letter of complaint was sent to the President of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, about the decision not to consult the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
Albeit Manzano wasn’t the referee in charge of the match. It was Javier Alberola Rojas when Pique was pulled down in a similar case to the penalty that was awarded to Real Sociedad when Busquets did a similar thing, but it was Manzano that took the blame of the complaints due to his past controversial records with the Catalan.
The controversial event at the Anoeta won’t be the first time Gil Manzano would be at the center of controversy, specifically when in charge of the Barcelona match, and in this regard Pique was involved in a heated discussion with the referee in the 2018-19 campaign after he sent off Clement Lenglet in a match against Girona, as Pique felt Manzano’s decision was unfair and remarked: “That, it’s clearly not a red card“.
Prior to Lenglet controversial sent off, Manzano has sent off Dani Alves in 2015, Neymar and Luis Suarez in 2017, the reason why the Catalan center-back has always been very skeptical about his decisions, which came to the fore in 2017 when Pique took his complaint to the social space on Twitter, about his decisions in a 3-2 win for Real Madrid against Villarreal.
Referees are usually talked about a lot, as such Gil Manzano has always been allegedly accused to be controversial and biased when he makes decisions that don’t seem to go down well with players or managers.
However, despite the controversial tag on him, he had done something you don’t often see in the past, but commendable when he apologized on several occasions to the Valencia players when he made a mistake in a match between Valencia and Barcelona.
Albeit, the Mestalla fans criticized him heavily, because if he hadn’t made the mistake, it could have been a scoring opportunity for them, but then the mistake occurred and he apologized four times, surely the mistake will still be talked about, but Manzano will be praised for admitting his error in that match.
For Gil Manzano to stay clear of what Pique perceived him to be, first off there is a need for him to be up and doing, and specifically, he should note that there should be no need to justify decisions, the relationship between him and the players should be a kind of quasi-friendship.
Once football referees make a decision, players and managers should accept the decision and back off, whether they felt the decision is right or wrong, allowing players to encroach a referee after each decision it’s an indictment on it own to the game of football. And there is a need for the referees to also be more professional in handling their officiating properly to avoid unnecessary accusation, heat, and confrontation in the future.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.