Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has defended Athletic Bilbao’s angry response to Neymar’s perceived showboating in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday.
The Brazilian drew the ire of Los Leones with his flick over Unai Bustinza towards the end of the Camp Nou showpiece, and the Coach, despite insisting his No 11 meant well, confessed “I’d have responded in the same way or worse”.
“These kind of things are frowned upon in Spain,” he said after the game.
“If I was an Athletic player, I’d have responded in the same way or worse.
“We must understand that he wasn’t trying to humiliate his opponent. It’s different in Brazil, but over time we’ll try to control this.
“It’s a shame that Athletic always find themselves against a club of our level whenever they reach a final.
“I think Athletic showed that they deserved a trophy. The behaviour of their fans was spectacular.
“We already have two [trophies], now we want a third. That’s the mentality of this team and this club.
“[On whether Barca were invincible], that’s a horrible word and, moreover, doesn’t exist in football.
“[Lionel] Messi does what he does because he’s the best player in the world.
“The importance of Xavi [Hernandez] in Barca’s history is more than evident. He’s played more games and won more trophies for Barca than anyone else.
“He’s missing a few Champions Leagues, but he’s leaving the club through the front door.
“It would’ve been disappointing if he left the club without any trophies [in his final season].”