Barcelona accused of 'one of the biggest robberies in football' by Iker Casillas amid referee payment scandal

Iker Casillas Barcelona
Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas has labelled Barcelona's Champions League win over Chelsea in 2009 as “one of the biggest robberies in football”.
  • Catalan giants paid member of referees committee
  • Insist they did nothing wrong
  • Former Blancos keeper not convinced

WHAT HAPPENED? It has been revealed that the Liga heavyweights made a number of payments to Enriquez Negreira – the former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees – between 2016 and 2018, with more than €1.4 million changing hands. Barca maintain that they broke no rules and were not seeking to gain an advantage with such dealings, but ex-Madrid goalkeeper Casillas is not convinced that favour among match officials was not being bought by Clasico giants from Camp Nou.

WHAT THEY SAID: While attending the Kings League seven-a-side competition, Casillas heard former Barca defender Gerard Pique say of the Negreira saga: “I'll tell you one thing: if we let the cat out of the bag, we look at UEFA and the Champions League and there Real Madrid's [name] comes up.... all over the place.”

World Cup winner Casillas responded by pointing back to Barca's infamous Champions League semi-final triumph over Chelsea in 2008-09, which saw Pep Guardiola's side benefit from a number of questionable refereeing decisions to secure a second-leg draw at Stamford Bridge and progress on away goals.

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Casillas said: “What you guys have to do is to be quiet. That was one of the biggest robberies people have ever seen in football.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Pique went on to argue that Barca were once denied a La Liga title triumph by a disallowed goal against Atletico Madrid that should have been allowed to stand, with Casillas then pointing out that Real also found themselves on the wrong end of some questionable decisions in crucial league and cup matches.


Iker Casillas Real Madrid La Liga

Gerard Pique Barcelona 2022-23

Messi Chelsea 2009

WHAT NEXT? Barcelona are currently eight points clear of Real in the 2022-23 title race, with both teams also chasing down more success in European competition and in the Copa del Rey.