Just hours after a former Spanish police commissioner accused the president of bribing football referees "before Barcelona did so", Real Madrid responded with an official statement.

Jose Manuel Villarejo, a former Spanish police commissioner, said in an interview with Catalan broadcaster RAC 1 that "Florentino Perez (Real Madrid president) actually bribed the referees before Barcelona did," and justified not holding him accountable by saying "he cannot be touched."

Real Madrid responded with an official statement, saying that the club's president, Florentino Pérez, had decided to file a lawsuit against former commissioner Villarejo over the false accusations he made on the Catalan radio station.

The referees bribery case erupted when FC Barcelona and some of its senior officials were charged on 10 March by Spanish authorities with "corruption", "breach of trust" and "false business records" in a case of suspicious payments to José María Enríquez Negrera, former vice-president of the Spanish Football Federation's referees committee who is also accused in the case.

At the end of last month, Spanish police raided the headquarters of the Spanish Football Referees Committee, based on the decision of the Barcelona court, which is investigating the case.

According to the prosecution, the Catalan club paid a total of more than 7.3 million euros to Negrera between 1994 and 2018.

Real Madrid, rivals Barcelona, joined the lawsuit as a party affected by the bribes, which has increased tensions between the two big clubs in recent months.