Xavi led Barcelona to their fourth El Clásico win over the past year, as his side maintained their impressive run in domestic competitions with a gritty 1-0 win away from home.
The Spaniard has been criticized for getting knocked out of Europe four times in two seasons, with many pointing to Barcelona’s lack of control, composure and fight against the likes of Bayern Munich, Inter, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Manchester United as reasons behind their European frustrations.
But in Spain, Barcelona have been unstoppable and displayed all the aforementioned traits against Real Madrid in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final. The visitors seemed to be in control of the tie from start to finish, displayed composure to hang on to a narrow one-goal lead, and didn’t shy away from getting involved in a melee or two to show their counterparts that they are far from nervous at Santiago Bernabéu.
The attitude was also visible on the touchline, with Xavi pictured arguing with Dani Carvajal in the dying moments of the game.
Real Madrid player called ‘idiot’ by Barcelona manager Xavi during El Clasico
The Real Madrid left-back was involved in a duel with Barca youngster Alejandro Balde, but things escalated quickly and the duo appeared to exchange words before the Barcelona boss joined the squabble and shouted “Idiot, you’re an idiot,” to Carvajal.
Xavi ended up receiving a yellow card following the insult. But after the full-time whistle, the legendary midfielder was seen hugging the Real Madrid player.
However, as far as the semi-final clash is concerned, things are far from settled between the two sides. Carlo Ancelotti’s men have enough experience and talent to overturn the tie at Spotify Camp Nou in April. Xavi, meanwhile, will hope to field an even stronger Barcelona side following the return of Robert Lewandowski, Pedri and Ousmane Dembélé.