FC Barcelona

Xavi aims dig at Real Madrid after Champions League semi-final qualification

Tom Gott
Xavi wasn't impressed by Real Madrid
Xavi wasn't impressed by Real Madrid / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Barcelona manager Xavi has poked fun at the unconvincing manner in which Real Madrid reached the Champions League semi-final.

Los Blancos thumped Chelsea 3-1 in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at Stamford Bridge but were then largely outplayed at the Santiago Bernabeu. Chelsea went 3-0 up but a Rodrygo strike sent the game to extra-time, where Karim Benzema netted the goal that saw Real advance 5-4 on aggregate, despite losing 3-2 on the night.

Chelsea could have easily scored more, spurning a handful of excellent chances late on, but Real managed to hang on and book their place in the final four.

Xavi was asked for his feelings on the game and he claimed he would not be happy if it was Barcelona who were scraping through to the semi-final.

"Barcelona's history has demands of us, but Madrid's does not," he said. "We don't look to Real Madrid to push ourselves, our history pushes us.

"Our history for 40 years, when Johan (Cruyff) came, set a bar: to win by playing well. That is how we Catalans are. That is how we live. If we don't play well, we're not happy.

"I don't know how it is in Madrid. They have a spectacular competitive gene, but Barça is another story."

He continued: "This is Barça. We have the obligation to win and play well. It's not worth it for us to win 1-0 and in the 90th minute. We are Barça. 

"It's about being excellent in everything we do. There is no comparison. Barça is the most difficult and demanding club. 

"We have an obligation to win by playing well. This is the difficult thing in football. That is why this is the most difficult club in the world."

Xavi also took the opportunity to praise fellow Spaniards Villarreal for making it through at the expense of Bayern Munich, adding that he believes La Liga sides can compete with any team on the planet.

"What happened [on Tuesday] makes me think that La Liga is not that far from the Premier League," he explained. "In the end, La Liga is always La Liga and it is a competitive league.

"I watched both games, I'm a big football fan. But our goal is to be there next season ourselves.

"By the way, Villarreal are a great team, aren't they? Put them on the list of top sides."