Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez spoke to the media today in the the pre-game press conference for his side’s clash against Shakhtar Donetsk tomorrow in the Champions League. The press conference, though supposedly about Barca’s game tomorrow, was turned into a conversation about Real Madrid.
Xavi was asked about Real Madrid TV’s videos that they release regularly outlining mistakes that certain referees make against them. He was also asked about Carlo Ancelotti’s post-game quotes after the Sevilla game where he stated he’s not allowed to talk about the referees because he will face a sanction.
“I have not changed my mind from Sunday to today,” Xavi said. “I do not like that the refereeing teams are influenced. It is a difficult job. They make mistakes, sometimes for you and sometimes against you. But we have to help them. Although sometimes we are emotional because we are tense. I believe a lot in their honesty, we have to leave them to do their work. I don’t like them being influenced.”
Xavi also admitted that Barcelona have complained about referees too, although, they’ve done so ‘naturally’.
“Complaints don’t go anywhere, but they come out naturally,” Xavi continued. “Like us on the day of Getafe, or Granada... we are human and we are angry. But complaining doesn’t take you anywhere.
“It is true that Ancelotti is right in that regard, if you speak about the referees, you get a ban. He’s right there. But they are talked about too much, and they are influenced. From there, it’s true that I would like to be able to speak calmly about whether this was right or wrong, if they made a mistake, that’s football.”
Xavi was then asked if the referee issue will ‘warm up’ Real Madrid before El Clasico.
“I don’t think the issue will warm up the Clásico, they just felt harmed,” Xavi explained. “I won’t give it any more thought. Ancelotti is right, you complain and you get a two-game ban.
“I like that there is respect, harmony between the clubs. Tension does not generate anything good. It is positive to have rivalry, but also respect and even admiration. It is simply a football match. We are focused on the match.”
Xavi, on the relationship between Real Madrid and Barcelona heading into the upcoming Clasico. pic.twitter.com/jKJYTzBvyf— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) October 24, 2023