Mark Clattenburg reflects on refereeing Messi – Ronaldo, reveals spat with Mourinho

Ballon d'Or Leak - Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk are top contenders

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has revealed that he was mesmerized by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi the first time he refereed them.

Clattenburg was one of the top Premier League referees and he served in the competition for more than a decade and he also took charge of Champions League games and major international tournaments.

The 46-year-old had to referee some of the biggest names in world football and he has now recalled some of his favourite memories of watching the likes of Messi and Ronaldo.

The former Premier League referee said to Talksport that the way Messi moved the ball with his feet made him dizzy and he will also never forget the first time he refereed Real Madrid and Ronaldo scored a goal.

Clattenburg said: “I remember refereeing Messi for the first time in Paris. It was Paris against Barca.

“When I was watching him play I was watching the ball and getting mesmerised. I started to get dizzy watching him move the ball with his feet.

“Then you watch Ronaldo, I will never forget the first time I refereed Real Madrid and Ronaldo scored.

 “The goalkeeper [Iker] Casillas has the ball and within five seconds, three passes and Real Madrid had scored. I was still on the halfway line and I thought ‘I may as well wait here for the ball to come back’.

“It was unbelievable.”

Clattenburg also reflected on his altercations with managers like Jose Mourinho and his spat with the former Manchester United manager convinced him that it was the right time to give up refereeing.

 He said: “I started thinking about it when I had an altercation with [Jose] Mourinho at Stoke City. Stoke City vs Man United is never the easiest games and Stoke is one of the worst places to go referee.

He said: “It’s freezing cold. It’s one of the worst places to ever go for refereeing.

“It’s one of those ones where he came in and tried to play mind games on a decision and I just lost it.

“I threw a boot against the wall and there was a big argument. I said I was going to quit and he said ‘don’t quit, you are the best referee’.

“I knew then I wanted to go.”