Ref case won’t destabilise Barcelona ahead of Clasico


Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez mentioned the referee corruption scandal is not going to destabilise the membership as they put together to face Real Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Barca can transfer 12 factors clear on the high of LaLiga with a win, however the build-up to the Clasico has revolved across the €7 million paid to the previous vp of the refereeing committee.

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A Spanish courtroom this week agreed to open an investigation into allegations of corruption in opposition to Barca following the revelation of funds to ex-ref Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.

On Friday, Barca president Joan Laporta mentioned the entire saga was born from a “campaign against the club” as he continues to protest the Blaugrana have “never bought match officials nor influence.”

Xavi mentioned he helps Laporta’s feedback and he is not going to let the problem distract from his group’s makes an attempt to assert a primary LaLiga title since 2019.

“They will not destabilise us,” he mentioned in a information convention on Saturday. “We are more stable than ever — and they have been trying [to destabilise us] now since Day 1.

“We are utterly centered on profitable on Sunday and making a giant assertion within the title race. … We should not serious about anything.

“It won’t be definitive if we win, but it would represent a real step forward. I am really up for it, it’s my first Clasico at Camp Nou [as coach] and I love these games.”

Xavi was additionally as soon as once more pressured to defend criticism of his facet’s efficiency within the current 1-0 Copa del Rey semifinal first-leg win over Madrid on the Bernabeu.

Despite profitable the sport, with the second leg nonetheless to come back on April 5, Barca confronted complaints after having lower than 40% of the possession.

“What is it with the [insistence] on the 1-0?” he added when requested if he would take the identical end result on Sunday. “If I could choose, I prefer a 4-0 or a 5-4, but it’s hard to score goals.

“Those that haven’t performed soccer at an elite degree cannot perceive what it is prefer to have an opponent in entrance of you, particularly Madrid, the Champions League holders. To beat them 1-0 is a unbelievable end result.

“One thing is the result and another thing is the style. We are never going to change the style. We will never shut up shop at the back. Another thing is if teams force us back or play through our pressing.

“But we’re proactive, we’re at all times going to press excessive. We need the ball and that concept is not going to change. And profitable 1-0? Barca gained their first European Cup 1-0 with purpose from [Ronald] Koeman and nobody mentioned something concerning the model, so I do not know why now it is such a giant situation.”

Barca have won three of their four meetings with Madrid since Xavi took charge, only losing the league fixture at the Bernabeu this past October.

Those victories include one in the Spanish Super Cup final in January, but it was a 4-0 win toward the end of last season which Barca defender Ronald Araujo credits with helping the club get back on track as they near four years without a league title.

“It was actually essential for us as a result of we had been coming from a barely powerful second and having misplaced varied video games in opposition to Madrid,” Araujo told ESPN.

“I believe that [4-0] recreation turned issues round and allowed us to say: ‘We are right here, we’re on our means again.’ Now [this season], you’re seeing the fruits of our onerous work.

– Lewandowkski talks to ESPN about life at Barcelona

“Xavi came in halfway through last season and when you are playing so many games, you can’t [change] much. I think in preseason we were able to work a lot on a defensive level.”

Araujo’s battles with Vinicius Junior have turn into one of the hallmarks of video games between Barca and Madrid. Vinicius has scored 19 objectives in all competitions this season however has failed to attain in his previous three direct match-ups in opposition to Araujo, who switches from centre-back to right-back to face the Brazil worldwide.

“For me, right now, he is the No. 1 player in that position, in one-on-one situations,” Araujo mentioned of their duel. “He’s a really good player, he can unbalance teams.

“It’s tough to play in opposition to him, of course, however I’ve been working onerous in order that I will be at my finest, too, and I’m glad that issues have been going effectively for us in that regard.”

Barca will be without Ousmane Dembele and Pedri for Madrid’s visit. Pedri returned to training this week and was on track to make his comeback from a thigh injury having been sidelined since Feb. 16, but Xavi explained he is not quite ready.

“There was a threat,” he said. “In coaching on Friday he didn’t really feel one hundred pc and, in these video games, when you’re not one hundred pc, it’s best to not drive it.”


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