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Valdes: Referee could play key role

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes says that the referee could play a major part in the upcoming Champions League semi-final against rivals Real Madrid.

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The two sides will have met four times in the space of six games by the time the finalists for Europe's top club prize are decided, with Real Madrid having the best of the recent games as they took home the Copa del Rey trophy and saved a 1-1 draw in the league.

The first leg of the Champions League tie will be played at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday evening, and Valdes believes that his side's chances may hinge on whoever is officiating.

"We know what can happen against Real Madrid. We must take what comes, and it may depend a lot on the referee whether we can play our game or not,'' he said. ''But we're not obsessed about these things.

"We are a team with players who are winners and we want to repeat the triumphs with Barcelona. So, we just have to keep going, and go all out against Real Madrid.''

There is a chance that a Portuguese referee will be chosen to officiate the game - something Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola insisted would delight his opposite number.

"I am convinced that [Jose] Mourinho will be very happy if there is a Portuguese referee. To play the semi-final we will need the right mentality and tactics,'' he said.

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