Ronaldo believes UEFA protects Barca
Cristiano Ronaldo agrees with banned coach Jose Mourinho that Barcelona is given preferential treatment by UEFA after Real Madrid was eliminated from the Champions League with Tuesday’s 1-1 draw.
Madrid missed out on a place in the final after losing the two-legged series 3-1 overall, although questionable referee decisions against Madrid in both legs took their toll.
Belgian referee Frank De Bleeckere waived away Gonzalo Higuain’s goal before Pedro Rodriguez notched Barcelona’s opener after judging Ronaldo fouled Javier Mascherano despite being pushed into the Argentine.
”Barcelona is very well protected – we knew something would happen,” Ronaldo said. ”(Higuain’s) goal was legal. Pique pushed me and I fell on top of Mascherano, who never went to the ground in England, but here he’s learned that trade like the rest of them.”
Mourinho was banned for criticizing UEFA after the first leg when Pepe was red carded in the 61st minute. Barcelona scored both goals after that and Madrid accused its rival of feigning injuries to draw bookings.
The hostile atmosphere leading into the game even led UEFA to send head of referees Pierluigi Collina to the match at the Camp Nou. UEFA is studying six reports against the two clubs.
Madrid’s players were all visibly upset after the game and captain Iker Casillas and midfielder Xabi Alonso were among those venting against De Bleeckere.
”That would have been the first step in the comeback,” Alonso said. ”We’re upset, hurt to not go through because of so many wrong decisions.”
Barcelona will now play in the May 28 final at Wembley, with Manchester United leading Schalke 2-0 in the other semifinal.
”We knew if we scored a goal they would do everything possible so we wouldn’t get through. This isn’t good for football. If things don’t improve we should just stay home and let Barcelona play by themselves,” Ronaldo added.
”Next year they should just give the cup directly to Barcelona.”