Xavi Hernandez mentioned he was shocked and saddened by the hostility aimed toward Barcelona by Athletic Bilbao supporters throughout his facet’s 1-0 win at San Mames on Sunday.
Raphinha struck the one aim of the sport to revive Barca’s nine-point lead on the high of LaLiga as Athletic followers protested following allegations the Catalan membership purchased beneficial remedy from referees.
The house crowd threw financial institution notes marked with “mafia $” and Barca’s badge onto the pitch throughout within the first half and chanted for Xavi’s facet to be relegated “to the second division.”
“I respect the followers at San Mames,” Xavi mentioned in his postgame information convention. “They’ve all the time handled me nicely, however I used to be shocked on the hostile environment in direction of Barca.
“It was unhappy to see. [Barca] are being judged earlier than time, which I do not assume is nice for society. Everyone seems to be free to [air their opinion] and I respect all opinions, whether or not I agree with them or not, however it made me unhappy.”
Pressed on if he anticipated the identical environment at different upcoming video games and if it had an impact on his gamers, Xavi mentioned: “I haven’t got the rest so as to add, [just that] it makes me unhappy.
“We now have not spoken about it within the dressing room with the gamers. We’re right here to win and are centered on the soccer. We’re all professionals.”
Prosecutors on Friday filed corruption costs towards Barcelona following the revelation of funds totaling €7 million to an organization owned by the previous vice chairman of the refereeing committee between 2001 and 2018.
Former presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, together with ex-referee Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira are additionally listed among the many defendants.
Barca vehemently deny any wrongdoing and say they’ve by no means purchased referees or affect and that they have been paying Negreira for “technical stories on refereeing.”
On Sunday, Actual Madrid mentioned they’d be a part of the criticism filed by prosecutors towards Barca, prompting Blaugrana president Joan Laporta to as soon as once more tweet the membership’s “innocence,” claiming they’re “the victims of a marketing campaign” towards them.
Afterward Sunday, Barca gained 1-0 in LaLiga for the ninth time within the league this season to strengthen their grip on high spot forward of subsequent weekend’s Clasico towards Madrid at Camp Nou.
Athletic, who hit the woodwork twice, thought that they had scored a late equaliser via Inaki Williams solely to have their pleasure lower quick when referee Gil Manzano dominated out the aim on account of an earlier handball by Iker Muniain.
“I’ve seen the photographs and I do not realize it it is extra shoulder or arm,” Athletic coach Ernesto Valverde mentioned. “However it’s not about that; it is a query of what’s soccer and what’s not.
“I believe VAR is there to appropriate blatant errors. That is why it got here in. Massive errors. Balls which have gone in or not, penalties. To name over the referee to see if it touches [a hand] or not 5 passes earlier.
“I do not know if that belongs on the earth of soccer.”
Xavi mentioned, after reviewing the photographs, it was a “clear handball,” however conceded his staff weren’t at their finest towards Athletic regardless of recording a nineteenth clear sheet in 25 league video games.
“It’s true we now have to play higher, however it is a tough place to come back,” the Barca boss mentioned. “It is regular to undergo at San Mames, however it’s an important win.
“We knew it will be a tough away sport. We now have nonetheless bought the nine-point lead and we go into the Clasico with confidence. However we now have to enhance, above all in assault.”