Real Madrid, with all their stars and only two defeats in more than half a season (both against Atlético Madrid), host the bottom of the Spanish league, Almería, at their refurbished Santiago Bernabeu stadium. An obvious result is expected, but it is not. The Andalusians score a goal very early, they score a second, the clock starts ticking, and despite so many players, a tired white team does not manage to turn the situation around in the whole first half. Until a dubious penalty (closer to not having been a penalty than to being one) arrives, with which Real Madrid scores, and at that moment a feeling of "deja vu" is produced in the stadium and in each of the places where the match can be watched on TV, not only will Los Blancos draw as necessary, but they will end up winning and generating general indignation. And so it happens. Not only do Real Madrid end up winning 3-2 with a goal from their hard-working right-back Daniel Carvajal in injury time, but the 2-2 draw will have come from a goal with the arm of Brazilian Vinicius Junior, plus a valid Almería goal was disallowed, according to the definition of Sergio Arribas, a Real Madrid player on loan to the opposition.

Referee Francisco José Hernández Maeso will have consulted the VAR three times to check the controversial plays, and always, as has been the case for years in more than ninety percent of similar cases, Real Madrid will be favoured according to the indications of the VOR booth. But it does not end there because just days later, the VOR audios with the dialogues between Hernández Maeso and the person in charge of the VAR of that match, Alejandro Hernández Hernández, were leaked and published by a media outlet, when in principle only referees have the key to access this material, for which the Technical Committee of Referees has made a demand to the Guardia Civil.

For some years now, the Spanish League has been seeking to compete with the English Premier League. It insists that it is "the best league in the world" even though its teams earn far less money from TV rights (almost seven times less) and it does not have the power of penetration of the British in the Asian or African world, but there is something even more striking than all this, and it is this type of scandal to which the media has become accustomed and to which, as long as they continue, the image will continue to deteriorate.

On the one hand, Real Madrid still does not recognise that historically, although it denies it, it has always been close to being a club-state, something that its president, Florentino Pérez, now criticises for those who underhandedly receive unlimited money from state coffers, such as Manchester City (United Arab Emirates), Newcastle (Saudi Arabia), or Paris Saint-Germain (Qatar). The perks for the requalification of land such as the old sports city of Begoña, now the site of the construction of very important downtown buildings, or the business in the VIP boxes of the Bernabeu during José María Aznar's time as president of the Spanish government at the beginning of the century, and so many other concessions, concealed or covered up by the capital's press, have long sought to remain in the shadows as a result of a revealing and at the same time difficult to understand discovery, the Negreira case, which directly involves its enemy (because to call it an "adversary" is an understatement), Fútbol Club Barcelona.

According to this case, Barcelona, during at least four different presidential terms (Joan Gaspart, the first of Joan Laporta, Sandro Rosell, Josep María Bartomeu, and an interim of Eric Reyna), was paying, and with invoices, the former referee and former vice president of the Spanish Technical Arbitration Committee (CTA), José María Enríquez Negreira, and his son, Javier Enriquez Romero, for alleged refereeing "consultancies" that coincidentally ended just when Enriquez Negreira ceased to be a refereeing official.

This information was fundamental for Madrid to seek to reverse the situation of so many years of suspicions of favouritism towards Real both in the game and on the court, and even the best sporting results of the Catalans were called into question, such as those magical years with Josep Guardiola as coach 2008–2012) and the brilliant winning of two Champions Leagues with players like Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernández, and Andrés Iniesta, who even made the shortlist for the World Player of the Year in 2010.

The war between Real Madrid and Barcelona from that moment on was total, as rarely in living memory. There were no more lunches between the board of directors on match days; relations are practically broken, and from Madrid and Barcelona, the media throw what they have at each other.

From Madrid, it is maintained that the payment to Negreira hid the will to alter the results of the matches for more than a decade, and the case went to court. While a few clubs joined the Whites in the repudiation, others prefer to wait for the final ruling, like UEFA, which continues to threaten to sanction the Catalans but knows that if the ruling of the courts is against there having been a criminal intent, it could lose a lot of image and surely have to pay a high compensation for prejudice.

From that moment on, everything around Real Madrid felt relieved, as if the weight was now on the other side, for once in its life, and the club operated in every way it could to keep throwing fuel on the fire: from its loss-making institutional TV channel, it now began to dedicate itself to meticulously studying every referee who plays them in the next match, pointing out their mistakes, as a form of unsustainable pressure, despite the fact that the judges themselves hardly open their mouths or complain, while the Catalan press, guilt-ridden and with doubts and fears about what might happen with the Negreira Case, is not saying much either. In this context, Laporta, the extroverted Barcelona president, imposed a more than interesting term: "sociological madridismo", which is nothing more than what Guardiola once said about the madridista environment in a well-remembered Champìons semi-final at the Bernabeu, with words like "la lechería" or "caverna mediática", but with more articulated words: it is that which is generated around the white club, that aura of protection, of searching for technical explanations, or of culprits on the outside. Like now with the match against Almería and the scandal of the three VAR failures in their favour, even as the weight of the accusation against Barcelona continues every day for a case of corruption that has yet to be clarified: was the real intention to buy wills for sporting gain or was the aim to control Real Madrid, precisely because of their long history in this area?

Now, Laporta is back in the media, taking advantage of what happened in the Real Madrid-Almería match to point out that he had a meeting with the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Pedro Rocha, to express his concern about what could be an adulterated competition, which means that, if only for a few days, Barcelona has become the victim of what it was the victimizer a few weeks ago, although the capital will try to reverse the situation soon. It is strange that they have not yet begun to speak of "sociological Barcelonaism," but they will say so.

In this web of accusations, mistrust, inexplicable bribes, VAR that always works for the same side, and audio leaks, is it possible to compete with the English Premier League or dare to say that we are facing "the best league in the world"? Everything indicates that no and that many things have to change in Spanish football if it wants its league to achieve maximum consideration beyond the very good teams that play it (Real Sociedad, a splendid Girona, a great Atlético de Madrid, a competitive Athletic de Bilbao). Without a change of mentality and an end to the Madrid-Barcelona war, it will be difficult to think about being the best. To start with, at least in matches, whoever deserves to win should win, and the VAR should be a technological tool and not an instrument in favour of the powerful. That would be a good first step.