Barcelona President Joan Laporta has again claimed that his side should have had two penalties against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, and has highlighted what he believes to be different treatment given to Real Madrid.
The Blaugrana secured a crucial win over Porto on Tuesday night, sealing their passage through to the knockout stages of the Champions League after a two-year absence. Laporta told Marca he was delighted.
“We live in constant suffering. It’s a fun suffering. I was happy for Xavi, he deserves it. He had to overcome very difficult situations, with injured players… It gave me a lot of joy watching the Joaos’ goals, with Pedri running 13km, and doing Pedri and Gavi and with the return of Frenkie. We have recovered the ball and like this we are unbeatable with the ball.”
He was delighted not least because it lifted the growing pressure on Xavi Hernandez, who has been blamed for their poor play in recent weeks. Laporta noted that while his future was the topic of conversation, he felt the media should have been focusing on refereeing decisions, after appeals for challenges on Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski went unheard.
“Throughout this week there has only been talk of nonsense when we should have been talking about the Rayo game and the penalty against Raphinha or the one they also gave to Lewandowski. If this had happened to Madrid, I’m sure there would be talk all week.”
Xavi has taken plenty of heat for providing excuses for their poor form too, and Laporta said that he had no wish to make his own, but firmly believed they were not receiving the same treatment.
“It is not about playing the victim, it’s a reality. To win we must be much better than our rivals and they make things difficult for us. Now we have achieved the victory against Porto and we have an iron morale to beat Atletico and Girona.”
Certainly it is hard to argue that the penalties should not have been given, but as is always the case, teams always speak about the decisions that go against them and not for them. Conscious of the narrative about him, Xavi noted on Saturday that while for him they were penalties, that was not the reason that they drew against Rayo, but rather their own play.