A bizarre story surrounding developments in the aftermath of the La Liga showdown between Barcelona and Atlético Madrid has come to the fore.
The headline fixture of the Spanish weekend of course played out on Sunday night.
Locked on points in the table, Barcelona welcomed Diego Simeone’s in-form Atlético to Catalunya, desperate to keep pace with both Real Madrid and Girona above them.
When all was said and done, it was the former who emerged triumphant, owing to a solitary goal on the part of Atléti loanee João Félix.
As alluded to above, though, the drama at the Estadio Lluís Companys was not confined solely to the pitch on Sunday.
In fact, quite the opposite proved the case.
As revealed in a report from Diario Sport, Barcelona’s staff and players alike were left bewildered by the actions of the officiating team both before and after the full-time whistle.
Linesman Raúl Cabañero, it is claimed, stood directly outside the door of the Blaugrana’s dressing room at both half-time and full-time.
This is highly unusual, with officials generally swiftly returning to their designated offices in the stadium.
Not only that, but Sport go as far as to claim that Cabañero’s prolonged presence post-match came with the linesman having been keen to eavesdrop on Xavi and co, in a bid to pick up on any negative comments.
Barca were on the receiving end of several questionable decisions against Atlético, with tensions having been high as a result.
From here, Xavi sent club press officer Edu Polo to attempt to deal with the situation, only for Cabañero to contact referee Sánchez Martínez, who subsequently made his way to the dressing room, too.
Polo was then repeatedly questioned on his identity, forcing Xavi to intervene, in a bid to de-escalate the situation.
Such behaviour left Barcelona’s celebrating stars ‘amazed’ upon their arrival back in the tunnel, on a night that does not reflect at all well on the officiating situation in Spain’s top flight at present.
Conor Laird | GSFN