In at this time’s world, many of the video games in soccer will appeal to the ire of followers for refereeing selections on the sphere. Even the 2022 FIFA World Cup noticed a number of controversial moments that reignited the talk on the standard of refereeing within the event. Conducting a complete match with 22 gamers on the sphere with none vital controversy, and that too repeatedly is an artwork that only some have mastered. 

A number of the referees, just like the gamers they officiate on the sphere, have entered legendary standing. These officers had been revered and, in some instances, had been feared by the gamers. This respect got here from years of good officiating at a time when applied sciences reminiscent of Video Assistant Referees (V.A.R.) weren’t out there for the person conducting the sport. 

So, we carry you the highest 10 well-known referees of all time. 

Oscar Ruiz 

Oscar Ruiz Acosta is without doubt one of the best referees to ever come out of South America. The Colombian officiated in three completely different World Cups and a number of other essential matches all through his profession. His worldwide profession began in 1995 when he officiated a sport between Paraguay and Venezuela. 

For the following 16, he was a FIFA-affiliated referee. Ruiz officiated in 2002, 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups. He retired in 2011 however served within the CONMEBOL referee help program. Though his fame was marred after three of his former colleagues accused him of asking for sexual favours for promotion.

Pedro Proenca 

You’re an excellent referee when you officiate a UEFA Champions League last and a European Championship last inside an area of 43 days. Pedro Proenca was one of many best referees from Portugal. He began his profession in his native Portugal, the place he was made a FIFA-affiliated referee after commendable performances in 2003.

Six years later, he was promoted to the elite class of UEFA rankings for referees. Proenca introduced his retirement from officiating in 2015.

Sandor Puhl

Sandor Puhl’s profession was one which noticed unbelievable highs and equal lows. The Hungarian was the most effective referees of all time and has officiated prime matches reminiscent of the ultimate of the 1994 FIFA World Cup between Italy and Brazil and the 1997 UEFA Champions League last between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund. 

Nevertheless, in between this, he was suspended for eight matches after he failed to identify a foul from Italian defender Mauro Tassotti on Luis Enrique, which broke the latter’s nostril. 

This might be the one controversy in his profession as he was voted by The Worldwide Federation of Soccer Historical past and Statistics (I.F.F.H.S.) World’s Finest Referee of the Yr 4 occasions in a row between 1994 and 1997.

Frank de Bleecker

Frank de Bleeckere might be one of the best referee to ever come out of Belgium. After making his debut in 1984, De Bleecker officiated for the higher a part of the final decade of the twentieth century earlier than being appointed as a FIFA-affiliated referee in 2998. He held this place from 1998 to 2012. 

Between 2000 to 2013, he was voted one of the best referee within the Belgian league for a file seven occasions. He made his worldwide debut in a 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Cyprus and Eire. 

All through his profession, he officiated matches within the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship, 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification, 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship, UEFA Euro 2004 and 2008, 2006 FIFA World Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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Peter Mikkelsen 

Denmark has supplied soccer with a number of the greatest referees all through historical past, and Peter Mikkelsen is one in every of them. The Dane was so spectacular that he was elevated to a FIFA affiliate referee and performed three matches within the 1990 FIFA World Cup aged 30. 

He would then referee on the 1992 and 1996 European Championships and the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The I.F.F.H.S. declared him one of the best referee in 1991 and 1993. Mikkelsen declared his retirement from soccer after the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers concluded. 

He died in 2019 after affected by most cancers for years.

Kim Milton Nielsen

From one Dane to a different, Kim Milton Nielsen was a tall determine that will demand respect from everybody on the pitch. He began officiating in 1975 within the Danish league at simply 15 years of age. 13 years later, FIFA recognised him in 1998, aged simply 28. 

He first gained prominence within the early Nineteen Nineties when he began taking cost of matches in UEFA competitions. His first massive match was the 1994 UEFA Cup last. Nielsen adopted it up with Euro 1996 and 1998 FIFA World Cup shows. Within the latter, he was the referee that despatched off David Beckham after he kicked Diego Simeone throughout the quarter-final match. 

The referee additionally took cost of the match between AS Monaco and Porto within the 2004 Champions League last.

Howard Webb

Followers of the Premier League will in all probability know the identify of Howard Webb. The Englishman officiated video games for over 20 years with stints within the Premier League. Webb began his profession in his native England and made his Premier League debut in 1998.

In his illustrious profession, Webb officiated matches such because the 2005 and 2009 F.A. Cup finals, the 2007 Soccer League Cup last, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup last. Within the final sport in 2010, Webb confirmed 14 yellow playing cards, which included the 2 to centre-back John Heitinga.

Webb introduced his retirement in 2014 and have become a technical director of the Skilled Sport Match Officers Board earlier than turning into the director of referees for the Saudi Arabian Soccer Federation.

Pierluigi Collina 

Felix Brych was voted one of the best referee of the final decade by the I.F.F.H.S., which exhibits how extremely regarded the German is. Brych began his profession in 2004 within the Bundesliga and, inside three years, would turn out to be a FIFA-affiliated referee.

Brych officiated prime matches, reminiscent of the primary leg of the 2011-12 Champions League semi-final between Chelsea and Barcelona. Brych would referee within the 2014 Europa League last and the 2017 Champions League last between Juventus and Actual Madrid.

He would solely officiate one match within the 2018 FIFA World Cup after being closely criticised for not awarding Serbia a penalty.

Nevertheless, he returned within the Euro 2020, the place he officiated a number of matches, together with the semi-final between Spain and Italy.

Markus Merk

Like Felix Brych, Markus Merk was voted one of the best I.F.F.H.S. referee between 2001-2010. Broadly thought to be the most effective referees, Merk has the file of officiating the best variety of Bundesliga matches in historical past. 

Merk began his profession within the Bundesliga in 1988 when he was solely 25. Within the subsequent 4 years, he can be recognised by FIFA and would even be appointed as a referee to the 1992 Summer season Olympics in Barcelona.

He would then referee the 2000 UEFA Euro, the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the 2004 U E.F.A. Euro, the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Last, and the 2003 UEFA Champions League Last.

Merk has been voted one of the best referee thrice by FIFA and the German Soccer Federation six occasions.

Pierluigi Collina 

The G.O.A.T. of referees, Pierluigi Collina, is thought to be one of the best referee to step on a soccer discipline. The Italian received one of the best referee award six occasions by the I.F.F.H.S. between 1998-2003. Nicknamed ‘Kojak’, he officiated a number of matches within the 1996 Summer season Olympics. He grew to become a FIFA-affiliated referee in 1995.

He officiated a number of important matches, together with the 199 Champions League last between Manchester United and Bayern Munich and the 2002 FIFA World Cup last between Germany and Brazil. 

Collina retired from the sport in 2005 however nonetheless acts as a guide to the Italian Soccer Referees Affiliation (A.I.A.) and different refereeing associations.

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