Reigning champions FC Barcelona stumbled at the start of the new La Liga season. Coach Xavi raged after the nil draw at Getafe FC – and quickly faced headwind from his fellow coach.
José Bordalas, Getafe FC coach, had a clear opinion on Xavi’s comments after Barcelona’s sometimes wild 0-0 draw in their opener on Sunday night. “I don’t think Xavi is doing La Liga any favours,” said the 59-year-old: “The greatness of football has these things: a small team is able to stand up to Barça. It’s his way of justifying the fact that they didn’t get the three points despite their outstanding squad.”
The “most violent action” would have come from a Barça player anyway. “Everything else is a way of covering up the great play of my players,” Bordalas clarified. Back to square one: Getafe gave Barcelona a fight from the first second, teasing the favourites non-stop with little fouls. The first “victim” was Raphinha, the Brazilian got carried away with an elbow blow before the break (42nd), for which he saw the red card from referee Cesar Soto Grado.
After 57 minutes, the score was level again because Getafe attacker Jaime Mata was shown a red card. Barça then increased the pressure. However, Xavi’s pressure was unleashed a little later: when Abde, who was supposed to have got away, went down just outside the penalty area after contact with Djené, the Barça coach demanded that he be sent off and even slightly attacked the fourth official.
From the stands, Xavi, who was sent off with a red, watched as his team failed to score even in 15 minutes (!) of injury time. “If this game is the product of the league, it is an absolute shame. I understand that people don’t watch football anymore,” Xavi ranted. A thorn in his side was a scene deep into injury time when, instead of a penalty for Barcelona, Getafe were awarded a free-kick for a handball by Gavi.
“They didn’t understand me today “
“The handball against Gavi was a fabrication. They told us in a meeting that they would whistle for very clear handball – and Gavi’s handball wasn’t and they whistled it. They had said they would run to the VAR less, and I don’t understand that when the VAR is there to help,” complained Barcelona’s head coach.
When he was sent off, Xavi had only told the fourth official “that they allow Getafe a lot of fouls and not us”, which is why Soto Grado banished him to the stands. “We had a meeting with the referees and the first change they wanted to make was that they would be more understanding of the coaches, the tension we experience on the pitch. But that didn’t happen, they didn’t understand me today. “
Soto Grado had let the game get completely out of hand. Xavi described the image of La Liga with this game as “absolutely embarrassing”. Raphinha and he are threatened with a two-game ban – the coach possibly even more after the fact because of these statements.
Xavi only criticised his own team for the poor first half, saying that the Catalans played “great football” in the second half, but only failed to take their chances. Reparation is called for next Sunday against Cadiz – without Xavi and Raphinha.