Italian referee Daniele Orsato is widely seen as one of the best officials in the world, but he hasn’t been new to controversy in Serie A, while Luka Modric considers him ‘one of the worst.’

Italian referee Orsato has been appointed by UEFA for tonight’s Champions League quarter-final second leg between Manchester City and Real Madrid at Etihad Stadium. It is one of the most awaited games of the year, especially after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the first leg.

The 48-year-old is one of the most experienced officials in Serie A, with 288 appearances in Italy’s top flight.

He is the Italian referee with the most Champions League appearances, including the 2019-20 Final between PSG and Bayern Munich. Later that year, IFFHS named him the best referee for 2020.

However, like any other referee, Orsato has sometimes been involved in controversies. The most notable one in Italy is undoubtedly the ‘Pjanic yellow card’ incident in a tense meeting between Inter and Juventus in 2018.

Orsato controversies

Orsato didn’t show the Juventus midfielder a second yellow card and the Bianconeri completed a comeback in the second half at San Siro, securing a key victory in the title race with Napoli.

A few years later, Orsato admitted his error. “It was a mistake,” he said.

“I was close to it, and I didn’t notice what I saw on TV. For me, it was a typical aerial challenge. VAR couldn’t intervene.

“We all make mistakes, and we’ve always admitted it. We can only improve by working on them.

“I always use the same style. Whether I officiate a game in Italy or Europe, I don’t find much difference. I don’t think that’s the reason why our clubs are struggling [in European competitions].”

The Schio-born official was also in the spotlight during the 2022 World Cup when Croatia star Modric, who is available for Real Madrid against Man City tonight, called him “one of the worst” referees he knows. On top of that, even Gary Neville criticised the Italian for a controversial penalty kick call in Argentina-Croatia.

Nevertheless, Orsato still won the  Premio Giulio Campanati in 2023 as the best referee at the 2022 World Cup.

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