Xavi Hernandez believes Cristiano Ronaldo was wrong to criticise referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco after Barcelona’s win over Real Madrid.
Undiano Mallenco awarded three penalties and sent off Sergio Ramos in Barca’s 4-3 victory and after the match Ronaldo was highly critical of the official, and went so far as to suggest referees want Barca in the title race.
But speaking to reporters, Xavi defended the performance of Undiano Mallenco and said he thought all three penalty awards were correct, including the one given against Barca.
“Cristiano is wrong and his criticism is harsh. Barca were superior, we played better than Real Madrid and it shows in the result,” the midfielder said.
“As far as I’m concerned, they were all penalties, including the one from Dani Alves on Cristiano, from what I could see on the pitch.”
Barca’s victory meant Atletico Madrid remained top of the League, leading Madrid by the head-to-head record.
Xavi doesn’t expect Diego Simeone’s side to give up top spot easily.
“Atletico are the leaders and they’re a warrior-like team, they’re battlers,” he added.
“There are no favourites from now on though – there are three teams who can win the title.”
Victory in El Clasico marks a huge turnaround in Barca’s fortunes from a few weeks earlier when the team was roundly criticised following defeat to Real Valladolid.
Xavi said though that the criticism then was too strong and warned against too much praise following the Madrid win.
“The squad is calm. We understand how the Press works – it’s not a lack of respect for us.
“We lost in Valladolid and the criticism was heavy. But today we won and we’re good again.”