'Clasico is the hardest game in football to referee' - former official Raul Garcia de Loza

The 65-year-old has stressed that being in charge of a Clasico is a very tough job, and added that match officials always attempt to finish the game with 22 players
By Alberto Pinero

Former referee Raul Garcia de Loza has insisted that officiating a game between Barcelona and Real Madrid is more difficult than leading any other game.

The 65-year-old feels that being the man in charge for a Clasico is something special, and added that a referee needs personality in order to keep everything under control.

"It is very special to be awarded a Clasico. Everybody who claims differently is lying. You can't address a Clasico like any other game. It's very hard to be the referee in these games. Nobody makes life easy for you," Garcia de Loza said to Goal.com.

"The matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona were more important than any other match for me. Officiating a Clasico is more important and difficult than for example, a Champions League semi-final.

"You have to be a top arbiter in order to referee a Clasico and need personality. It's vital not to get involved in what others say. It is not important what [Jose] Mourinho says, and neither are [Pep] Guardiola's words."

Encounters between Barcelona and Real Madrid led to plenty of controversy earlier this year, but Garcia de Loza insists that referees always attempt to finish the match without any dismissals.

"The objective is always to finish with 22 players on the pitch. You have to realise that not all the players are the same when you prepare for the game. Some have a more aggressive approach than others. You have to decide for yourself where the boundaries are."

Saturday's Clasico at Camp Nou kicks off at 20.00CET. 

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