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UEFA Call For Pierluigi Collina To Monitor Real Madrid-Barcelona Battle

by Jack Atchinson

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Uefa officials want the most famous referee to oversee Bernabeu and Nou Camp clash.

Uefa have asked refereeing legend Pierluigi Collina to monitor the potentially volatile Champions League semi-finals clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The 51-year-old has been asked to be the official observer of the governing body at the Nou Camp tonight to oversee Belgian referee Frank de Bleeckere’s performance.

While Uefa always sends an official to observe every game it is rare for Collina, head of the referees, to be called in.

The choice of the 44-year-old de Bleeckere, who has a reputation as one of Europe’s finests officials, also reflects the high-risk status it has given the rematch of Spanish rivals.

Barcelona won a bad-tempered first leg 2-0 last Wednesday, but Madrid made a failed protest to Uefa about German referee Wolfgang Stark sending off Pepe when the game was scoreless.

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho was sent from the dugout by Stark for his comments about Pepe’s red card, then later accused Uefa and its referees of actively helping Barcelona reach Champions League finals.

Mourinho included de Bleeckere in the supposed conspiracy after his handling of the second leg of last year’s semifinal when the Portuguese coach’s 10-man Inter Milan side eliminated Barcelona.

Uefa’s disciplinary panel will meet Friday to examine six charges arising from the first-leg match.

Mourinho, who is banned from the touchline Tuesday, faces further punishment for his comments during and after the match.

Pepe also faces a longer ban for his red-card challenge, and Madrid has been charged for its fans throwing objects and invading the pitch.

Barcelona’s substitute goalkeeper Jose Pinto has been charged over his part in a touchline brawl at halftime.

Collina was referee for the second leg when Madrid and Barcelona last met in the Champions League semi-finals.

In 2002, the sides drew 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium allowing Madrid to advance and win the title.

Collina also refereed the 2002 World Cup final, when Brazil beat Germany 2-0, and Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final.

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