Ramos questions use of VAR as Real Madrid are denied 'clear' Clasico penalties

By Sports Desk December 18, 2019

Sergio Ramos questioned why VAR was not used to check two "clear" fouls on Raphael Varane in the penalty area during Wednesday's goalless Clasico.

In the first half at Camp Nou, Varane was caught by a high challenge from compatriot Clement Lenglet and then had his shirt pulled by Ivan Rakitic when competing for a corner.

Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez did not award a penalty and neither incident was checked using the VAR pitchside monitor midweek.

Madrid captain Ramos was left bemused as to why VAR did not intervene, having watched back the footage at half-time.

"We saw them at the break and they look pretty clear. They're both penalties, but we can't change that now," he said to Movistar.

"VAR is here to help. It's bad luck. On another day, it'll be our turn to have a penalty that they don't check."

Gareth Bale saw a second-half goal correctly disallowed for offside after a VAR check, as Madrid failed to make their early dominance count and Barca's front three struggled to get into the game.

The result means defending champions Barca remain top of LaLiga but level on points with Madrid, who are now unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions.

Ramos, who became the top appearance-maker in the fixture's history as he played Madrid's fierce rivals for the 43rd time, is frustrated the mid-season break starts after Sunday's game against Athletic Bilbao as he wants to sustain momentum.

"You can't be happy when you don't win, but getting something here is always positive," he said.

"We saw a great Real Madrid today, with a lot of personality, on a very tough pitch. We went to steal the ball, which helped us create many chances. There were few mistakes and that's the end result.

"We controlled the game quite well. We had more chances than them. It's not easy to get the ball off them. The strategy of pressing high worked well.

"We're going through a great dynamic in terms of play and we're also good physically. It's a shame the year is ending - we'd like this not to stop.

"Now, we have Athletic and hopefully we'll continue like this after the holidays."

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    Zinedine Zidane feels his Real Madrid players deserve more respect as he is "tired" of their victories being attributed to refereeing decisions.

    Madrid celebrated a seventh straight win on Sunday as they prevailed 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao, moving seven points clear of rivals Barcelona at the top of LaLiga.

    However, their goal came courtesy of a Sergio Ramos penalty, awarded only after a VAR review highlighted Dani Garcia's trip on Marcelo.

    Iker Muniain revealed his frustration at the call after the match, echoing comments from Barca's Gerard Pique, who suggested the officials were making it difficult to stop Madrid winning the title.

    Zidane bristled at the accusations, though, telling a news conference: "I am tired of being told that we won because of the referees.

    "This is not going to change. But the players deserve respect. Nothing is going to take away from our goal."

    The head coach accepted Madrid were not at their best at San Mames, yet he pointed to a tough schedule which saw the leaders in action against Getafe as recently as Thursday.

    "Our strength is what I like the most. We are showing our strength and our balance when we lose the ball," Zidane said. "We are doing very well.

    "We have lacked brilliance in attack and we can improve, but most important is our defensive strength.

    "[The problems in attack are due to] a little bit of everything. It can be something physical, too. We play every three days.

    "But I don't think it is our own thing; I think it is something for all the teams. There is a lot of difference between the beginning and the end."

    Talk is turning towards when Madrid might clinch the title, with just four games to play and Barca struggling for form.

    But Zidane is not getting ahead of himself, adding: "Until it is mathematically won, we cannot relax and think about the title.

    "We have shown our strength and our solidity, but I am not going to talk about it, even if you ask me every day, because I already have a lot of experience in my career, also as a player, and all the games are difficult.

    "What I can say is that winning seven games out of seven is impressive."

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    Athletic Bilbao captain Iker Muniain became the latest player to question refereeing decisions involving Real Madrid after Sergio Ramos scored a decisive penalty at San Mames.

    Madrid were made to work hard for a 1-0 victory on Sunday - their seventh win in a row - as Zinedine Zidane's men moved seven points clear at the top of the LaLiga table.

    But Athletic were unhappy with the award of the spot-kick from which Ramos clinched the points, with Dani Garcia's trip on Marcelo spotted only after a VAR review.

    Muniain was particularly frustrated as there was then no similar call made at the other end of the pitch when Ramos appeared to step on Raul Garcia's foot off the ball.

    He said: "Raul Garcia has been stamped on and they haven't even reviewed it. That's the difference.

    "We've seen the theme in these weeks since the restart - depending on which teams it is, some decisions are given.

    "Everyone can draw their own conclusions."

    Barcelona stalwart Gerard Pique has previously suggested it would be difficult to stop Madrid winning the title because decisions too often go their way.

    Those claims prompted Ramos to respond: "People shouldn't be imagining things!"

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    Sergio Ramos revealed he enjoys the responsibility of taking crucial penalties for Real Madrid, although he claimed he would be playing tennis if he was looking for individual recognition.

    For the second time in four days, Ramos grabbed the only goal from 12 yards for Madrid, this time to secure a 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Sunday.

    A seventh straight victory moved the LaLiga leaders seven points clear, at least until Barcelona take on Villarreal later in the day.

    Ramos is focused on ensuring Madrid keep winning, having been flawless since the season's restart – a period in which the captain has now scored five times, including from the spot against Getafe on Thursday.

    "All I think about is the three points," he said. "But those moments of doubt [when taking penalties], that's when I feel most comfortable.

    "I just wanted to take that responsibility. What matters most is the overall result. The only thing that matters is that it helps the team win."

    On his personal exploits, Ramos added: "The individual recognition is second for me.

    "What matters is that the team get the objectives we want and manage to get the three points in every game we play. Luckily, for the moment, we are getting those results.

    "I would have probably played tennis if I were more interested in individual recognition. This is a very beautiful sport, a team sport, and it's very nice to win as a team."

    Having also overcome Getafe this week and with relatively kinder fixtures to come, Ramos acknowledged the magnitude of Madrid's latest victory.

    "It was very important for us. We knew today was going to be one of the most important games of those that are left for us," he said. "It's a very difficult game always, travelling away to Bilbao.

    "We just organised it like that: we had 11 finals left coming back from lockdown and we just had to go game by game, getting the three points.

    "I believe today, again, the team proved that against a team like this, you always have to be at it. We're very happy with the three points. That was our objective.

    "It's three very important points to put more pressure on Barcelona, who play later today.

    "We just want that league title. From the first minute, you could see how we wanted to go for that game and get the result today.

    "We knew we weren't going to win 3-0 or 4-0 today – it was going to be a very tough game – but it was important."

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