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UEFA Appoint Best Referee in the World For FC Barcelona vs Bayern Munich

Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

This is the tie that the footballing world has been looking forward to for years; FC Barcelona pitted against their former and most successful manager, Pep Guardiola, as the Blaugrana prepare to take on Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. In some respects, this would have been the ideal final, between arguably the two best club sides in the world, but equally, it works just as well as a two-legged affair. That way, we get to see Guardiola back at the Camp Nou, and Barcelona back in Bavaria, attempting to avenge the ghosts of their past.

And fittingly for this clash of the titans, UEFA have chosen to appoint the best referee in the world to mediate the first-leg, as Italian whistle-blower, Nicola Rizzoli will take charge on Wednesday at the Camp Nou. That's a good omen, right?

Well, maybe not.

Anyone paying close attention will remember that Rizzlo also took charge of the 2014 FIFA World Cup final between Germany and Argentina, in which the former claimed victory courtesy of a goal from Bayern Munich attacking midfielder, Mario Gotze. That match will be remembered by some of course for the famous non-call on Bayern keeper, Manuel Neuer, who escaped any sanction for his brutal attack on Argentina forward, Gonzalo Higuain.

Rizzoli has also taken charge of one FC Barcelona match already this season, the group stage encounter with Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes -- the same match that Barcelona slumped to a 2-3 defeat. Going further back, Rizzoli was also the referee for our 1-2 defeat at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal, in which he disallowed a perfectly legal goal from Lionel Messi, erroneously claiming the Argentine superstar was offside.

Wherever Rizzoli goes, bad luck for Barcelona and their players seems to follow, but maybe all that will change on Wednesday...

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