Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid: Ronald Koeman blames VAR for Clasico loss

Clement Lenglet’s shirt-pull on Sergio Ramos was the turning point of the game

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman says the video assistant referee system seems to be “only used to make decisions against Barca” after Sergio Ramos’ penalty helped Real Madrid win El Clasico.

Federico Valverde smashed Real, who had lost their previous two games, into the lead from Karim Benzema’s pass.

Barcelona’s Ansu Fati, 17, levelled from Jordi Alba’s cross, becoming the youngest scorer in El Clasico history.

Ramos scored from the spot and Luka Modric smashed in a late third.

The turning point was a lengthy VAR decision for the Ramos penalty. Referee Juan Martínez Munuera did not spot Clement Lenglet’s pull on Ramos’ shirt but eventually gave a penalty after viewing it on the screen.

Barca had two penalty appeals turned down – for a Raphael Varane challenge on Lionel Messi and a possible Varane handball.

“I don’t understand VAR, I think it is only used to make decisions against Barca,” said Koeman, whose side have only picked up seven points from five games.

“You always get shirt tugs like that in the area and I think Ramos makes a foul on Lenglet first. There’s a tug of the shirt, but not enough to make him fall behind as he did. For me it’s not a penalty.

“We have had five matches and [VAR] has only been used to go against Barca. It’s never gone our way.

“The decision had a big influence on the final result, because we were playing well up to the penalty.”

Ramos said: “I think it was a very clear penalty. He tugged my shirt when I was jumping for the ball and it’s as clear as daylight. It’s unfair to criticise a referee for a decision as clear as that.”

The result takes Real top of the fledgling La Liga table with 13 points from six games, six points above Barcelona.

Efficient Real brush off recent defeats

Luka Modric
Luka Modric came off the bench to score Real’s third goal

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has not lost any of his six matches as a manager at the Nou Camp, with three wins and three draws.

Morale may have been low after defeats in their previous two games by Cadiz, in La Liga, and Shakhtar Donetsk, in the Champions League.

But they started brightly when Benzema fed Valverde, who slammed the ball into the far corner, leaving Neto with no chance.

Fati’s almost immediate equaliser made it the first time both sides scored in the opening eight minutes of a Clasico in La Liga since 1940.

After that, Barca threatened to take control but Real did well to turn the tide.

Ramos’ low penalty beat Neto and marks the first time he has scored 10 La Liga goals in a calendar year.

There was time for a late third as Luka Modric stepped past Neto before a classy finish.

Real are unbeaten in three Clasicos for the first time since 2012-13.

Questions for Koeman?

It is perhaps too early to talk about real pressure but Barcelona’s tally of seven points from five games is as bad a start as boss Koeman could have feared.

They were OK for large parts of El Clasico and dominated for a period but Real deserved their win in the end.

Scorer Fati was one of three teenagers in Barca’s team, alongside Pedri and right-back Sergino Dest, who was the first American to play in El Clasico.

Fati – who became the first player under the age of 18 to score in El Clasico – and Dest, who joined from Ajax at the start of this month, were two of Barca’s better performers.

Koeman will surely be quizzed on how Philippe Coutinho, who did not have a good game, played the full 90 minutes – or why he did not make any changes until the 81st minute.

Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, two of the most expensive players of all time, came on too late for any real impact.

Lionel Messi was far from his best and has not scored in six Clasicos.

Player of the match

ModricLuka Modric


  1. Squad number22Player nameAnsu Fati

  2. Squad number14Player namePhilippe Coutinho

  3. Squad number13Player nameNeto

  4. Squad number10Player nameMessi

  5. Squad number2Player nameDest

  6. Squad number21Player namede Jong

  7. Squad number18Player nameAlba

  8. Squad number3Player namePiqué

  9. Squad number16Player namePedri

  10. Squad number17Player nameTrincão

  11. Squad number15Player nameLenglet

  12. Squad number11Player nameDembélé

  13. Squad number5Player nameBusquets

  14. Squad number7Player nameGriezmann

  15. Squad number9Player nameBraithwaite

Real Madrid

  1. Squad number10Player nameModric

  2. Squad number4Player nameRamos

  3. Squad number15Player nameValverde

  4. Squad number9Player nameBenzema

  5. Squad number20Player nameVinícius Júnior

  6. Squad number17Player nameLucas Vázquez

  7. Squad number1Player nameCourtois

  8. Squad number8Player nameKroos

  9. Squad number23Player nameMendy

  10. Squad number14Player nameCasemiro

  11. Squad number5Player nameVarane

  12. Squad number11Player nameAsensio

  13. Squad number25Player nameRodrygo

  14. Squad number6Player nameNacho



  • 13Murara Neto
  • 2Dest
  • 3Piqué
  • 15LengletBooked at 29mins
  • 18AlbaBooked at 62minsSubstituted forBraithwaiteat 87′minutes
  • 16GonzálezSubstituted forMachado Trincãoat 81′minutes
  • 5BusquetsSubstituted forDembéléat 82′minutes
  • 21de Jong
  • 14Coutinho
  • 22FatiSubstituted forGriezmannat 81′minutes
  • 10MessiBooked at 90mins


  • 4Araújo
  • 6Aleñá
  • 7Griezmann
  • 8Pjanic
  • 9Braithwaite
  • 11Dembélé
  • 12Puig
  • 17Machado Trincão
  • 20Roberto
  • 24Firpo
  • 26Peña
  • 36Tenas

Real Madrid

  • 1Courtois
  • 6NachoBooked at 37minsSubstituted forVázquezat 43′minutes
  • 5Varane
  • 4Ramos
  • 23Mendy
  • 15ValverdeSubstituted forModricat 69′minutes
  • 14CasemiroBooked at 19mins
  • 8Kroos
  • 11AsensioSubstituted forRodrygoat 81′minutes
  • 9Benzema
  • 20Vinícius Júnior


  • 3Militão
  • 10Modric
  • 12Marcelo
  • 13Lunin
  • 17Vázquez
  • 18Jovic
  • 22Isco
  • 25Rodrygo
  • 33López

Juan Martínez Munuera

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Ronald Koeman: Barcelona’s president says former player will be new head coach

Ronald Koeman (right) arrived at Barcelona’s El Prat airport on Tuesday

Ronald Koeman will be the new manager of Barcelona, says club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

The 57-year-old, who is currently in charge of the Netherlands, is set to join the La Liga runners-up this week.

Speaking on Tuesday night, Bartomeu said: “Koeman is the one we’ve chosen. If nothing goes wrong he will be the head coach next season.”

Former Netherlands and Barca defender Koeman flew to Barcelona on Tuesday to finalise a deal with the club.

There have been rumours that the team’s star Lionel Messi could leave but Bartomeu said: “Messi wants to end his career at Barca, he has said that many times.

“I have spoken with Koeman and the pillar of our project is Messi.

“He has a contract until 2021, I speak a lot with Leo and more regularly with his father.

“He is number one in the world. There is no doubt that in Koeman’s new project you can count on Messi.”

But the president added that the club would have to sell players.

“There is money but Covid-19 has reduced income so we have to reduce payroll to be able to bring in new footballers,” he said.

Koeman, who played for the Catalan giants between 1989 and 1995 and helped them to four league titles and the European Cup, has a contract with the Dutch FA which runs until the 2022 World Cup.

Earlier on Tuesday, when the former Barca player was asked if he wanted to return as manager, he said: “I’d like to, but it’ll only be confirmed once I’ve signed the deal.

“Until then, I cannot say any more about it – even though I’d like to.”

Barcelona parted company with sporting director Eric Abidal on Tuesday, one day after relieving head coach Quique Setien of his duties.

The dismissals come after the club’s humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last eight on Friday.

Meanwhile, Barca’s German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 28, will be sidelined for 10 weeks after an operation on his right knee.

Koeman helped Barcelona beat Sampdoria to win the 1992 European Cup


Guillem Balague, Spanish football expert speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live

Koeman is going to be given a two-year deal. He would have said yes to a one-year deal. He has been trying to get to Barcelona for a long while.

Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was contacted and there were talks with him even though the chairman realised the fans wouldn’t like him [as a former Espanyol player and manager].

Pochettino is a better option. There is no doubt about that.

But we’re not talking about the real issue. Barca are a club that’s in disarray with a debt that some calculate could be 700m euros and unable to move on because they spend 70% of their income on wages for the first team.

They have no clear idea where to go next, partly because they can’t get rid of these guys and partly because they’ve got no vision.

Upheaval at Barcelona – timeline
13 January 2020Quique Setien hired as Barcelona boss on a two-and-a-half-year deal as successor to the sacked Ernesto Valverde
19 January 2020Wins his first game in charge as Lionel Messi scores the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Granada
6 February 2020Knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage by Athletic Bilbao
1 March 2020Loses El Clasico to Real Madrid, who move above Barcelona at the top of La Liga
16 July 2020Barca relinquish La Liga title and lose their 30-game home unbeaten run as Osasuna win 2-1 at the Nou Camp
14 August 2020Barca suffer a record 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich and are knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals
17 August 2020Barcelona sack Quique Setien
18 August 2020Ronald Koeman declares interest in taking vacant position; Barcelona part company with sporting director Eric Abidal

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Ronald Koeman: Barcelona could pick Netherlands manager to replace Quique Setien

Balague told BBC BB Radio 5 Live on Friday that Quique Setien was only Barcelona’s fourth choice to replace Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona manager Quique Setien is to be sacked on Monday and Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman could be the man to replace him, says Guillem Balague.

La Liga runners-up Barcelona were humiliated in an 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich as they crashed out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage on Friday.

Setien, 61, was hired as Ernesto Valverde’s replacement in January.

However, he failed to lead his side to a trophy in 2019-20.

On Sunday night Spanish radio station Cadena COPE said they had spoken to Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu