Ex-La Liga official claims ‘90%’ of referees favour Real Madrid over Barcelona

A former La Liga referee has claimed 90% of match officials in the division favour Real Madrid, while the other 10 per cent support Barcelona.

Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez was a top flight referee in Spain until retiring in 2012, and officiated more than 300 matches during his career.

He suggests that due to many people in the country growing up as Madrid fans, that is mirrored in the number of referees who lean towards the Los Blancos.

"Around 90% go with Real and 10% with Barcelona," he told Cadena Ser via ESPN. "Whether Barca [fans] like it or not, 70% of the Spanish population, excluding Catalonia, are Real Madrid supporters.

"There are more Barca 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%?

"Personally, I don't care about one or the other. I'm Athletic [Bilbao]. Everyone knows that I am Athletic, but I would go against them to try and be fair."

Barcelona and Real Madrid have dominated La Liga in recent times, winning the title in all bar five seasons since Athletic Bilbao's last triumph in 1983-84.

Gonzalez added: "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."

Such situations in Spain may be common, though in England it's a different story.

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