Normally, the worlds of European soccer and California personal injury do not intertwine. However, April and May of 2011 witnessed an historic set of events in world soccer; four matches between arch rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid, played over only 18 days. Most seasons only see two matches between the two giant Spanish soccer clubs, called the “Superclasico.” In this rare instance, the matches occurred in three different competitions, the Spanish league, the European Champions League and the Spanish Copa Del Rey (King’s Cup).
When the two teams met earlier in the season, at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium, both teams came to play and Barcelona emerged as 5-0 victors. In an attempt to prevent similar embarrassing losses in the four crucial games in April and May of 2011, Jose Mourinho, the coach of Real Madrid, employed certain questionable tactics that will be analyzed here from the point of view of a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
In the first three games, Mourinho put out an ultra-defensive lineup which, while not illegal, was designed to frustrate his opponents and ruin the spectacle that a soccer match is supposed to provide. However, besides playing defensively, many of Real Madrid’s players seemed to come out with intent to cause personal injury to the Barcelona players.
Mourinho seemed to employ a clear strategy of starting the games with his players kicking and fouling Barcelona players, because in the opening minutes of a game, the referee is less likely to punish such offenses. Fouling, in itself, is part of a soccer game, and is comparable to a foul in a basketball game. However, the difference in soccer is that with the strength of a professional soccer player’s legs, combined with the cleats they wear on their feet, many fouls can cause serious injury (including ligament damage, fractured bones, etc.) to an opponent. For this reason, referees can grant yellow cards for certain fouls (2 yellow cards and the player receives a red card and is ejected and misses the next game) or direct red cards for more serious fouls.
In the first Superclasico, the Spanish league game, played at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Real Madrid’s players were constantly fouling Barcelona’s players. One Portuguese player for Real Madrid, Pepe, was especially violent when trying to break up Barcelona’s intricate passing play. Many Real Madrid players deserved to be sent off for dirty play in this game, but only one player, Raul Albiol, received a red card, for a professional foul, but not one malicious in nature. Real Madrid committed 22 fouls in the game, compared to 14 for Barcelona.
In Part 2 we will examine how legal ramifications, from a personal injury standpoint, could potentially affect sports in general and the remaining games played between these teams.
Our California personal injury attorneys have been working on Los Angeles personal injury cases for over 30 years. If you, a friend, or a family member is injured in an accident in Los Angeles, call our office right away for a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.