More and more often, especially in Italy, you wonder what on earth motivates a man to sign up as a referee.
If you are not being derided by supporters, you are being criticised in minute detail by pundits armed with umpteen camera angles and slow-motion replays.
And that is apart from 90 minutes enduring young men thrusting their wild-eyed faces into yours, arguing.
Last week, Antonio Damato, a 40-year-old lawyer from Barletta in south-east Italy, learnt of the front-page headline in one of the more shrill Italian papers.
It demanded of the Serie A authorities that Juventus versus Napoli "must not have the wrong referee". By Friday he would have been clear that many considered him "the wrong referee", too inexperienced for a top-of-the-table meeting with a fiery recent past.
Within a few moments of kick-off, it became clear several players, from both teams, thought Damato has a frailty against aggressive confrontation. They nagged him vigorously. It would be an intense match, elbows raised in aerial duels, jerseys clutched. But Damato is not a zealous whistler.
That helped the match's tempo.
The risk of taking a non-intrusive approach for a referee is that temperatures rise more suddenly, grudges build up. Damato reacted firmly when needed, though.
Even the losing coach, Napoli's Walter Mazzari, praised Damato for a fine overall performance, a strong advertisement for Italian officiating, which does not always enjoy the best reputation.
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