Xavi has spoken about the influence of Real Madrid on La Roja in comments carried by Diario AS. Xavi, a key part of the Spanish team that won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, as well as that all-conquering Barcelona team, is currently coaching in Qatar but is back in Spain on summer holidays.
Spain are currently competing at Euro 2020 under Luis Enrique, a coach Xavi won the Champions League with in 2015. They’ve come under serious criticism; they opened their campaign with draws against Sweden and Poland before popping the cava and beating Slovakia and Croatia convincingly. For Xavi, La Roja and criticism go hand-in-hand.
“The criticism is normal,” he said. “The environment in Spain is very critical, demanding. It’s a shame. The press isn’t teaming up. That’s why it’s more complicated for Spain to win titles. We achieved it with our generation, but it’s complicated.
“It’s even more difficult for a coach who doesn’t have any Madrid players, in the Madrid-focused environment that is the national team. In the end you have to accept criticism, evade it and focus on your game. They’re doing very well and and are already in the quarter-finals.”
Luis Enrique didn’t select any Madrid players for his squad, a decision that caused quite a stir in the Spanish press. Sergio Ramos, the alpha-alpha of this Spanish team, was especially conspicuous by his absence. Luis Enrique, being the hard-nosed Asturian that he is, won’t be swayed by the court of public opinion, however. He’ll proceed as he sees fit.