Hectic days in Spanish football: illegal line-ups, official complaints, VAR issues, Cristiano pleading guilty & leaving the court with a big grin on his face
Foreign fans usually don’t believe us Spaniards when we claim that, under the surface of all its bells and whistles, Spanish football sometimes seems run by amateurs, jesters and people with just plainly a pretty strange sense of humour.
Match-day 20 in La Liga came and went and the controversy was still running high, reeling from what happened on Thursday. Thanks to a report by newspaper El Mundo, both Levante and all the clubs competing in Copa del Rey discovered that FC Barcelona could possibly have committed an illegal line-up in the first leg.
If we leave aside the fact that nobody, that no professional advisor and/or worker of any team noticed this ‘small’ issue, the second leg was going to be polemical regardless of the outcome.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 23, 2019
After getting knocked out on the pitch, Levante tried presenting their claim on Friday. It was rejected by the Spanish Federation Committee. The Copa del Rey quarterfinal draw took place on Friday evening. Levante once again appealed… and were rejected on Monday night. But it doesn’t end here: Levante will appeal one last time to the Tribunal de Arbitraje Deportivo (TAD), and this team they are asking that the competition is halted till there’s a resolution. Just, halted. Stopped. Frozen till further notice.
Obviously, the chances of Levante being heard here are slim to none, but it’s the perfect example of how random and chaotic things can be in any competition held in this country. Especially since VAR was introduced to make matters more balanced (in theory) at the start of the current season.
On Sunday, Barça beat Leganés after a controversial goal scored by Luis Suárez. I have absolutely nothing against Culé fans… but, come on, that was an obvious foul over Cuellar. Minutes later Messi scored the third one (3-1) and put an even denser coat of paint over the whole issue, but Leganés were once again robbed of the chance of picking up points in a big game for them and they have also have enough of it.
And that’s why, after watching in the last few weeks how teams who have complained about VAR (Real Madrid, Atlético, Levante…) being luckily favored a few days later by some ref calls, Leganés politely asked on Monday for ‘clarification’ over the VAR criteria being used currently. Again. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for their next few games, to see if their luck suddenly changes…
CD Leganés, alongside their president Victoria Pavón, have formally and respectfully requested via email a clarification to the RFEF and to the CTA regarding the interpretation of the incident between Iván Cuéllar and Luis Suárez on yesterday's match. pic.twitter.com/hQfns6D2nA
— C.D. Leganés ???? (@CDLeganes_en) January 21, 2019
Truth is, the 2018-2019 competition won’t be remembered due to the excellent level of football shown by the teams (Messi, as always, should be assessed aside and is a treasure to enjoy every single week), but due to just how much weird stuff is happening throughout the year. Not only in the sport side of things (who would’ve thought Villarreal would sink so dramatically or that Alavés would be so high in the standings at this point?), but also off the pitch.
Cristiano Ronaldo made the headlines once again. While Real Madrid have sorely missed him (and the almost 50 goals he used to score per season) quite a lot, CR7 once again set foot in Spanish soil with other business in mind. On Tuesday, he calmly walked into a court room in Madrid, pleaded guilty of tax evasion and accepted both a fine worth $21.4 million and a suspended 23-month jail term, after a deal he made last year with Spanish tax authorities.
And he walked out of the building grinning, happily signing some autographs to dedicated fans and being asked super tough questions by the reporters, such as if he ‘missed playing for Real Madrid’ (sic).
LaLiga, that gift that keeps on giving.