BARCELONA, Spain – Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has labeled Real Madrid’s players bad losers and animals after his club won their latest ill-tempered matchup.
Barcelona eliminated cup holder Real Madrid from the Copa del Rey quarterfinals with Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou.
El Mundo newspaper’s website released Barca TV footage on Friday of Xavi caught off camera speaking about the game.
“In the changing room, they were (complaining). They’re unbelievable — they don’t know how to lose,” the Spain midfielder said.
Xavi’s comments will do little to calm the tense rivalry as he also labeled Madrid players “animals” for their physical challenges, specifically Lassana Diarra after the Madrid midfielder escaped a second booking in the closing moments of the first half.
“I said to him, you just showed (Lionel) Messi a yellow card and now the second one, what happened to it? Send him off,” Xavi said he told referee Fernando Teixeira, adding: “It’s the player who is responsible, especially if you challenge like an animal.”
Madrid ended the match with 10 men after Sergio Ramos was sent off in the 88th minute, and Madrid was vocal in its criticism of Teixeira.
Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka, speaking instead of coach Jose Mourinho as he often does, responded to Xavi’s statements on Friday.
“Of course Real Madrid knows how to accept losing, but not in that manner,” Karanka said.
Mourinho criticized Teixeira in the postgame news conference and reportedly waited for the referee after the game to voice his opinion.
“Teixeira, you’ll go and smoke a cigar now and laugh without feeling any bit of shame,” El Mundo Deportivo newspaper quoted Mourinho as saying to Texeira, publishing a photo of the coach in the Camp Nou car park.
Karanka offered a qualified defence of Mourinho.
“Everyone knows our coach has a certain way of being, and there are times when he is OK and others when he’s not,” Karanka said.
While Madrid played perhaps its best match against Barcelona since Mourinho’s arrival in 2010, the team has lost nine times and won only once in the last 14matches against its fiercest rival.
Madrid leads the Spanish league by five points at the halfway point of the season, with three-time defending champion Barcelona in second spot.