Mascherano: Ronaldo boiled over in Clasico spat
The Argentine was booked for clashing with Ronaldo with replays showing he over-reacted after minimal contact
Javier Mascherano played down a spat with Cristiano Ronaldo as Barcelona edged a typically tetchy Clasico 2-1 against Real Madrid on Sunday night.
Ronaldo was chopped down by the Argentina midfielder on the hour mark with the Portuguese reacting with a petulant, albeit soft kick. Mascherano promptly went down clutching his face with referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz opting to book the former Liverpool man and let off Ronaldo, who was already on a yellow.
Of the incident, Mascherano told reporters: "He boiled over a little but it wasn’t with bad intent. These sorts of things happen out on the pitch."
Barca were not at their fluent best on Sunday but found a way to win – a quality Mascherano feels should not be undervalued, adding: "Football isn’t just about possession. This club has a way of playing and we respect that but football has many facets; it’s about pressurising, about suffering when you have to and being tactically smart.
"We have to be a complete team and that’s what we are right now.
"Teams like Madrid push you to the limit, both physically and mentally. We made a great effort, especially as we played in midweek. We came out on top and we’re very happy.
"If you’re not careful with Madrid they’ll get on top of you. They’re the best in the world at that. We started well. We controlled the game and scored, and that’s when they began to push forward. We gave them too much space and lost the ball too often. In the second half we re-organised ourselves. We scored and started playing our own game."
The win puts Barca four points clear of Madrid at the top of La Liga, but Mascherano knows there is much work still to do.
"There’s a long way to go and we have the Champions League too. We’d be wrong to ease off. We’ve given ourselves a good chance and we just have to keep going."
Madrid miss major opportunity after shackling Messi
Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid Watch Highlights
Real Madrid CF