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“His job is to make himself hated”. This is how the great Eduardo Galeano defined the referee’s work. That profession that should be considered extreme and anonymous. The more you go unnoticed in a match, the better. A mistake can even condemn him to exile. On that tightrope where those in black walk, Jesus Gil Manzano (Extremadura, 1984) builds his career. The 37-year-old Spaniard made history in the Chile (1-0) Bolivia being the first born in Europe to referee a match of America Cup. And now he will be in charge of dispensing justice in the Peru vs. Ecuador of this Wednesday for the day 4 of the continental tournament.

Gil Manzano is the youngest judge of this America’s Cup 2021 and it was part of a special FIFA plan. Argentine Fernando Rapallini traveled to be present at the Eurocup and the Spanish landed in South America.

READ ALSO: Peru vs. Ecuador: how does the northern team get to the clash against the Bicolor?

The Peruvian team will have a crucial duel against Ecuador this Wednesday (4 pm) at the Goiás Olympic Stadium. The result will mark the future of the ‘Bicolor’ and the ‘Tricolor’. A victory could even leave a ticket to the quarterfinals assured for the de Ricardo Gareca. Therefore, all eyes will be on the referee.

“Good referee”

Since he reached the elite in 2012, the progression of Gil Manzano It has been meteoric. In January 2014 he was appointed a FIFA referee and in May of that year he directed his first international match between the U19 teams of Ukraine and Scotland. In 2016 he climbed one more step on the international ladder and at the European Championship that year in France he attended as an additional fourth assistant referee.. It also debuted in the Champions League. In May 2018, he took a new leap to place himself in the elite of European arbitration. Before, in April, he whistled his first Copa del Rey final (Barcelona-Seville). That year he was awarded by the Technical Committee of Referees with the Vicente Acevedo Trophy, which recognizes the best of the season.

He is a good referee. He manages the game well, has a break without having to sleep the game and does not get nervous when the game goes through its peak, refer us Santiago Cañizares, Spanish soccer legend and now sports analyst at Movistar Plus and Cadena COPE.

He is not a cowardly referee, whistles what he sees without any fear. They can be calm. Hopefully I will do it as usual “, adds the ‘Dragon’ Cañizares, giving a reassuring message in the preview of the Peru vs. Ecuador.

He is a referee who is well regarded by the Federation. Although he has had several controversies with Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid when he directed those teams. Even the culé team presented complaints several times, because at the time it expelled Luis Suárez, Neymar and Lionel Messi. But beyond that, he is a good judge “, Sergio Picos, a Spanish journalist for the newspaper AS, points out to us.

Backstage celebration

Messi, Neymar and Suárez “suffered” it

Jesus Gil Manzano He is a recognized referee in Spanish football, although he only refereed Celta de Renato Tapia in the 2020-21 season: in the 2-1 defeat against Real Sociedad and in the 2-1 victory against Valencia. The Peruvian midfielder only saw a yellow in the second match.

Those who did not pass it the same as Tapia were Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez Y Neymar, the renowned ‘MSN’ of Barcelona. The Argentine, the Uruguayan and the Brazilian, who seek to win the America’s Cup 2021Yes, they “suffered” the Spanish judge.

Lionel Messi receives his first expulsion with the Barcelona shirt.  (Photo: Agencies)
Lionel Messi receives his first expulsion with the Barcelona shirt. (Photo: Agencies)

The first to be sent off by Gil Manzano was Suárez, on February 7, 2017, during the semifinal second leg of the Copa del Rey at the Camp Nou against Atlético de Madrid, a game in which Sergi Roberto was also expelled. The Uruguayan saw two yellow cards, the first highly disputed and the second due to an elbow to Koke, and missed the final cup despite the allegations of the Stork.

Two months later, on April 8, 2017, Gil Manzano crossed the path of the Barça team again in the visit to Malaga and in that match the expelled was Neymar. The Brazilian already had a yellow card when he rolled over to Diego Llorente with an untimely entry and left Barça without the ability to react to overcome the match and ended up falling 2-0.

Neymar and a second yellow after a foul.  (Photo: Agencies)
Neymar and a second yellow after a foul. (Photo: Agencies)

Leo was the last. In the final of the Spanish Super Cup, Messi saw the red for the first time with the Barza shirt. His expulsion occurred after the Barcelona captain hit the face of Asier Villalibre in extra time, when the match was 3-2 in favor of the Athletic Bilbao. The Argentine went to the showers and his team lost the trophy.

“Franco is very bad”

Spain is the only country in the world in which, as a rule, referees are named by their two surnames, as is done with Jesús Gil Manzano, for example. This happened after the collegiate began to be recognized at the end of the sixties. Angel Franco, who was part of the Murcian Committee. It was the last years of the Franco dictatorship in the Motherland, but censorship was still the order of the day.

When Ángel Franco was going to go up to referee the First Division, the press was informed that from that moment the referees were being named by their two surnames. In this way it was sought to avoid headlines such as “Franco did it very badly.” Although they did not refer to the dictator, they sought to eliminate the double meaning of many headlines. Thus, Franco would become known as Franco Martínez, forever changing the footballing tradition in Spain.

The maximum implicated in this story, Franco Martínez, declared that in his 17-year career he had only had problems once because of his first surname. In the days before a Basque derby in which he was going to referee, they summoned him to a meeting to warn him that they intended to assassinate him on his visit to the Basque Country. It was said that they were going to finish him off first and then with “the other Franco.” The referee feigned an injury and was not present in that duel.

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