Premier League

Carlo Ancelotti bites back at Xavi and Joan Laporta over referee comments

Xavi Hernandez, Joan Laporta

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has said he will not ‘sink’ to the level of Barcelona head coach Xavi and club president Joan Laporta regarding their recent comments over the broadcast of refereeing decisions.

Laporta has accused Madrid of ‘influencing the competition’ as their in-house TV channel regularly highlights refereeing mistakes, all the while Barca are still implicated in the Negreira scandal over secret payments made to a former officiating chief.

When asked about Laporta’s gripe with Madrid on Friday, Xavi replied: “I share the president’s words 100%…[the videos] influence the competition completely, week after week. A blind person can see it.”

Prior to Madrid’s 1-1 draw with rivals Atletico Madrid, Ancelotti refused to be drawn in on Xavi and Laporta’s comments.

“I’m a professional, and as a professional, I don’t want to sink to that level, out of respect to Spanish football,” Ancelotti said. “Don’t ask me about that anymore. I don’t want to sink [to that]. It isn’t a level for professionals.”

Ancelotti was, however, once more asked about Laporta’s rhetoric, retorting: “I already said, I won’t sink to that level.”

Xavi Hernandez, Joan Laporta

Laporta and Xavi were in agreement / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Xavi has since tried to make peace with Ancelotti over this war of words, showing his respect for the Italian after Barcelona won 3-1 at Alaves on Saturday night.

“I didn’t say anything to Ancelotti,” Xavi said. “I have a very good relationship with him. He may have felt pressured by my words. It doesn’t go towards him. All the respect for Carlo Ancelotti.”

Barcelona made up some ground in their desperate attempts to retain their La Liga title at the weekend, with the gap on first-place Madrid closing to eight points. Xavi’s men are now third, two points clear of Atletico in fourth and five ahead of Athletic Club in fifth.

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