The Spanish press have said that Real Madrid are 'already crying', with the appointment of referee Daniele Orsato for their Champions League quarter final second leg with Chelsea being criticised following notable World Cup criticism from Luka Modric.
The animosity directed towards the Italian stems from the 2019-20 Champions League, with a clash against Manchester City being officiated by Orsato. He awarded a penalty against Los Blancos in the first-half, with Raheem Sterling deemed to have been fouled by Dani Carvajal before sending off Sergio Ramos for a foul on Gabriel Jesus.
Catalan outlet Sport have already highlighted previous clashes, with the Barcelona supporting publication claiming that Madrid are 'already crying' amid the appointment. The 47-year-old was crowned by IFFHS as the best referee in 2020, before also being chosen to referee that year's Champions League final as well as being selected for the World Cup due to his strong reputation.
However, it was at the tournament in Qatar where the problems resurfaced for Orsato as, after a 3-0 semi-final win for Argentina against Croatia, he was the target of criticism from Luka Modric. The veteran Croatian did not hold back after the match, calling the Italian a 'disaster' and saying that he was "one of the worst" referees.
Referring to a penalty awarded to Argentina, which Lionel Messi converted for the opening goal in the 34th minute, Modric said: "It's a key moment in the game, he doesn't give us a corner and he whistles a penalty, which wasn't for me, because he shoots and collides with our goalkeeper," He continued. "I can't believe he whistled that penalty. That changes the game."
"I never talk about referees, but today it's impossible not to talk. He's one of the worst I know. Not only because of today's game. He's whistled me many times and I never have a good memory of him. He's a disaster."
Modric was not fined or charged for the incendiary comments, with the pair now set to meet once again on Tuesday night in London. This will make the narrative of the match a lot more interesting as Chelsea seek to battle their way back from a two-goal first leg deficit after their loss in Madrid last week.
There has been extensive discussion with regards to referees this season in La Liga, with attacks coming from Real Madrid 's official TV channel directed towards La Liga officials this season. Initially, former La Liga referee José María Enriquez Negreira came under scrutiny from Real Madrid for alleged payments made by Barcelona to Negreira, for which they have been charged.
Madrid's TV channel also previously released a video, attacking Carlos Clos Gómez, who is now head of La Liga's VAR. This has contributed to a climate of mistrust between Barcelona and Madrid regarding referees, a topic which was discussed at length by Barca president Joan Laporta in a press conference on Monday in which he said that Madrid were 'favoured' by officials.
Madrid were beaten by RB Leipzig earlier in the season, when Orsato last took charge of one of their matches, and will be hoping that the Italian is not a bad omen with Frank Lampard hoping to end a run of three successive defeats to seal an unlikely progression to the Champions League semi finals.