• La Liga

Barca were just better, Xavi tells Ronaldo

ESPN staff
March 24, 2014
Xavi: "We need to focus on the analysis that Barcelona were superior to Madrid" © Getty Images

Xavi has rejected claims by Cristiano Ronaldo that a biased refereeing performance was behind Barcelona's 4-3 Clasico win against Real Madrid in La Liga on Sunday evening.

Referee Alberto Undiano Malenco awarded three penalties in the game at the Bernabeu - one to Madrid and two to Barcelona - with Lionel Messi scoring a hat-trick as the visitors won the thriller and moved back to within a point of Madrid at the top of the table.

Ronaldo complained to the referee after the game, accusing him of being afraid and suggesting some unspecified forces had wanted Barcelona to remain in the title race.

Key questions from an unforgettable Clasico

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick at the Bernabeu © Getty Images
  • If you watched it, you'll never forget it. Football was invented for a night like this. Bravery, brio, technique, showmanship, nerve, fun, fear, fury - goals, goals goals, writes Graham Hunter.
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"I believe he [Ronaldo] has spoken too soon," Xavi told El Larguero. "I have not seen the replays, but I believe the referee was fair.

"They told me later that the penalty [which Ronaldo won] by Alves is outside, and we practically did not even protest. I would have whistled what Undiano whistled, that's the truth. I saw clear penalties.

"We need to focus on the analysis that Barcelona were superior to Madrid, played better and the result is there."

Ronaldo was not the only Madrid player to leave the Bernabeu fuming, with Sergio Ramos also telling reporters in the mixed zone that "somebody" had wanted Madrid to lose and the referee had not been good enough for a game like this.

"For the good of football, and for the good for Real Madrid, I hope that Undiano does not whistle any more of our games for the rest of the season," Ramos said.

"Of course the referee decided the game. There were vital moments - a handball by Pique in a Cristiano free kick which should have been a penalty and 3-1.

"Things happened in the Camp Nou and again here. There are referees who are good enough and others who are not.

"It is clear that when you are the best team in the world there is envy in some places. We at Real Madrid suffer from that and must fight against it. Even though there are some things against which you cannot fight."

Ramos, who had been shown a record 19th club red card for a professional foul on Neymar which led to Messi's first penalty, also claimed he didn't foul the Barcelona forward - who he insisted was offside anyway.

"In the first place Neymar was offside," Ramos said. "Then I put the brakes on because I preferred not to touch him, but Neymar was looking for contact with me. But I did not touch him. It is neither a penalty nor a sending off."

Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino saw it differently, and insisted that it was deserving of a penalty.

He said: "The most clear one to me was the penalty of Ramos on Neymar. There could be no debate about that. The others I was very far away from."

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