Barcelona and Spain icon Xavi Hernandez has slammed Real Madrid saying that they don’t care about playing beautiful football.
The 36-year-old who played for Barcelona for nearly two decades and now plays for Al Sadd in the Qatar League has gone on record saying that Real Madrid doesn’t play beautiful football. While the Santiago Bernabeu club has won both the La Liga and the Champions League trophy last season, they have struggled this season and already trail Barcelona by 16 points.
In an interview with Goal, Xavi went on to talk about Jose Mourinho and his time at the Bernabeu and also a lot about his years at the Camp Nou. He went on to say, “Barcelona is the final exam for a player.
It is the most difficult club and the most demanding in the world. Madrid do not play so beautifully. At the Bernabeu, if a defender hoofs the ball into the stand it is fine. That is the culture. The fans applaud.
At the Camp Nou you knock the ball into the stand and the grumbles are so loud it is negative. Since [Johan] Cruyff’s time. Mourinho’s Madrid hit the ball direct over the top. Mourinho told his players never to stop the ball, to play quickly and then [Angel] Di Maria, Cristiano [Ronaldo] or [Karim] Benzema would break. Now they do it with [Gareth] Bale. They don’t want to play football.”
With Neymar leaving the club during the summer transfer window, many expected the Catalan giants to fall flat and suffer without the Brazilian star. But despite bringing in only Ousmane Dembele and Paulinho, Barcelona sit 16 points ahead of Real Madrid in the La Liga and now have brought in Philippe Coutinho during the winter transfer window.
Xavi: "Barcelona is the final exam for a player, it is the most difficult club and the most demanding in the world. Madrid do not play so beautifully. At the Bernabeu, if a defender hoofs the ball into the stand it is fine. That is the culture. The fans applaud." pic.twitter.com/xeykwxHFBr
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) January 10, 2018
Xavi further added, “These youngsters need to know what [former Spain coach] Luis Aragones told me,” he said. “Do you want to play pretty football or good football? I don’t want to name names, but in La Liga many players have impressed and then disappeared without trace.
They do tricks, but for what? Messi does not do tricks, never. Messi goes for the kill. Messi is good football, and so good at the same time that it becomes pretty.”
From a neutral point of view, much of what Xavi says is true in some way or another. But Real Madrid under Zidane have started trying to play their football differently despite opposition and have done relatively well for themselves in Zinedine Zidane’s two odd years as manager.