Exclusive: Barcelona stars discuss Mateu on the way home from Las Palmas

The three hour flight back from Las Palmas to Barcelona felt especially long because of the two points Barcelona let slip in Gran Ganaria. And above all because of the incident where Mateu Lahoz gave the hosts a penalty for no reason. Lahoz was in everyone’s mouth. And not just for his refereeing, but for how differently he behaves off and on the pitch.

Some Barcelona players have a good relationship with Mateu, to the point where they describe him as “charming” off the pitch. If they have ever met up with him to take part in an event, or other matter, he has always been good with them. He feels comfortable with the players and is not like other referees, who won’t accept even a little conversation.

It’s his form of being, but it contrasts radically with how he behaves when the game starts. He did not sent off Chichizola and then gave that penalty. Barca players don’t understand how the same affable person off the pitch can lose the plot to extremes when on it.

The players left tired and angry, although looking forward to turning the page and thinking about the clash with Atletico Madrid. There they will have to deal with Gil Manzano…

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