Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea, from the Basque school, has been the referee appointed by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to direct the league classic this Sunday (9:00 p.m.) between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Spotify Camp Nou. It will be the third time that the referee has been in charge of a match between the two teams, the first in a Santander League match after having directed two classics of the Spanish Super Cup.
The first precedent dates back to August 13, 2017 when De Burgos Bengoetxea refereed Real Madrid's 3-1 win at the Camp Nou, a match belonging to the Spanish Super Cup in which he sent off the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo for a double yellow card in an action that ended with a push from the Portuguese to the referee and the suspension of the striker for five games.
The second of the classics, also in the Super Cup, was the duel in which Barça beat the white team 3-1 in the final held in Saudi Arabia, thanks to goals from Gavi, Lewandoski and Pedri, in a match without complications for the Basque.
In total, he has refereed Barcelona in 25 games, of which the Catalan team has won all except four defeats and one draw, and Real Madrid in 20, with wins on 14 occasions, three games lost and three draws.
In the matches that the Basque referee has directed Barça, he has shown a total of 53 yellow cards and has awarded seven penalties and one expulsion. In Real Madrid matches for him, 35 yellow cards, one expulsion and eight penalties.
De Burgos Bengoetxea will have to direct a tense match between the whites and the Catalans, after Real Madrid has been presented as a private prosecution in the Negreira case, for which the Catalan club is being investigated for allegedly benefiting from arbitration favors.
In addition, the controversies that in recent days have surrounded the league competition due to the decisions of the VAR, also place the referees in the eye of the hurricane. Precisely the video arbitration was the protagonist of the last league duel between Barça and Athletic Club, where a goal by Iñaki Williams was annulled by a handball from Iker Muniain.
Born in Bilbao, Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea, who turned 37 this week, is the son of retired referee Ernesto de Burgos Núñez. After four seasons in the Second Division, where he directed 88 games, in 2015 he made the leap to the First Division where he made his debut on August 23 in the match between Levante and Celta de Vigo (1-2).
He was the Spanish representative of the UEFA CORE Program for young referees in 2016. He has been international since January 1, 2018, covering the place that became free due to the withdrawal of Clos Gómez.
The Bilbaíno is part of the group of collegians such as Jose Luis Munera Montero, Sánchez Martínez or Gil Manzano—all 39—who are being called up to replace veterans such as Mateu Lahoz (46) or Del Cerro Grande (47).
De Burgos Bengoetxea, who on the pitch advocates explanations and dialogue with the players, but always imposing his figure as the highest authority; he is occupying an important place, since he has been the referee selected to direct two classics in just two months.
Last season he was designated as the best by the CTA, recognition that translates into the responsibility he is acquiring to direct meetings of the highest importance.
This season he has been in charge of 15 Santander League games and seven internationals, completing the 24 games he has directed.