Football fans all over the world will be tuning in as Barcelona and Real Madrid meet for the first Clasico of the season next week, but Robert Huth will be avoiding the clash between Spain’s biggest teams altogether.
La Liga leaders Barca will welcome the Champions League holders to Camp Nou next Sunday in a game that will likely prove decisive for Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui, who is on the brink of being sacked in the wake of their 2-1 defeat to Levante .
As with all Clasico encounters, there is a lot on the line, but it holds no appeal for former Chelsea and Leicester City defender Huth.
The 34-year-old says he cannot stand watching players try to deceive officials by feigning injury, and sees games between the Spanish sides to be among the worst for it.
“I don’t even watch Barca v Madrid any more. It’s s*** – 20 guys surrounding the referee, some holding their face,” the ex-Germany international told The Times . “El Clasico? Off.”
Huth is sad to hear football players and pundits justify pretending to be hurt in some occasions, singling out former Manchester United defender Gary Neville as an example.
“What I can’t get is how, afterwards, you can face people,” he said.
“As a man. I find the whole problem embarrassing. Diving, I can understand. There’s no difference between diving and me grabbing someone. You’re bending the rules but pretending to be hurt – it just goes against any sport. The weakness of it all p***es me off. I can’t think of another sport where it’s acceptable.
“You listen to it, to Gary Neville and all the others [saying]: ‘He had the right to go down.’ No. There is no right to go down. We spent the past 15, 16 years with nutrition, gym work, making footballers the strongest they can be. Are you telling me a [small touch] is enough to make one go down?”
Three-time Premier League winner Huth remains without a club having been released by Leicester over the summer, with the 34-year-old having struggled with injuries in recent years.