Xavi critical of Real Madrid ahead of Champions League return leg

09:52, May 03, 2011      

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Barcelona's Spain international midfielder Xavi Hernandez criticized the decision taken by Real Madrid to denounce several of his teammates for unsporting behaviour following Barca's 2-0 win in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium last week.

UEFA on Monday rejected Real Madrid's claims, which aimed to see Seydou Keita, Sergio Busquets, Pedro Rodriguez and Dani Alves suspended for feigning injuries, or in the case of Keita, pushing Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa as the teams went into the dressing rooms at halftime in a tense match.

Speaking on Monday ahead of Tuesday's return leg in the Camp Nou Stadium, Xavi applauded UEFA for their decision, but criticized Real Madrid for their unsporting attitude after the game.

"It's lamentable. We have always respected our rivals. I think it is lamentable because this kind of denouncement takes you nowhere and obviously UEFA have thrown it out. Madrid are playing another game apart from football," said Xavi in his side's pre- match press conference.

"We try and play attractive attacking football, it's what people want to see, not a team that sits back and defends," added the midfielder, who also criticized Madrid's tactics of growing the grass long in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and then refusing to water it in an attempt to make the ball move more slowly and thus prejudice Barca's passing game.

"Fans don't want to see dry, long grass on the pitch. I think it's dreadful that there are no rules to control it," continued Xavi, who didn't want to speak too much about Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, who has become a hate figure for Barcelona fans.

"Madrid have their coach, he is controversial and he always has been," he commented.

Mourinho is suspended for the game after being sent off for protesting Pepe's red card in Madrid last Wednesday. As a result Madrid's pre-game press conference was given by assistant coach Aitor Karanka.

Karanka continued Madrid's policy of victimism, which began in the Bernabeu last week and he complained UEFA had thrown out his club's attempt to see Busquets, Alves and company suspended. "After the UEFA decision, the game has had to take second place. If an organization has as its aims, respect and fair play and then doesn't sanction something that is obvious. There are values in football and so the game takes secondary importance," said Karanka.

Finally Barca coach Pep Guardiola also addressed the press. " Real Madrid have 109 years of history, but that doesn't give them the right to say who can and who can't play. If Madrid want to appeal they have got judicial services to do so, we on the other hand will go out on the pitch and try to play football," said Guardiola.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
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