Xavi Hernandez has laughed off a new nickname given to the Barcelona manager following his complaints after his team’s recent 0-0 La Liga draw against Getafe.
The Barca chief moaned about the state of the pitch and having to play in the afternoon, rather than the evening, in Madrid. Xavi has subsequently been dubbed ‘The Gardener’ because of his comments and told a pre-match press conference on Tuesday, April 25 that he has no problem with it, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
“It makes me laugh, better the gardener than something else,” he told reporters. “And that’s the way it is. I won’t stop until I get football to be fairer.”
Xavi spoke out again about the state of pitches in La Liga before his team beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 at the Camp Nou last time out. The former midfielder explained exactly why he is so annoyed by the situation as reported by ESPN.
“A dry pitch does not benefit us. It is a question for Sanchez Flores: Why not water the pitch? Why have the grass longer than usual?” he said. “I won’t stop until there is a rule in place for playing surfaces. There is in other sports. In golf, if the grass is long, they cut it. If Lebron has a wet court, they dry it. If it rains in tennis, they stop. And we could make puddles, but who does that benefit? I won’t keep quiet. It’s no wonder younger fans don’t watch entire games. If we want to put on a show, we have to take care of the sport.”
Xavi has still led his team to an 11-point lead at the top of the table despite his frustration at the playing surfaces in the Spanish top flight.
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Xavi Voices Rayo Vallecano Concerns
Barcelona’s next game is at Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday, April 26. Xavi once again voiced his concerns about playing away from home, but this time it’s the size of the ground rather than the pitch that he’s worried about, as reported by Sport.
“We have warned the players that it will be an intense game, they are aggressive, the distances are shorter,” he explained. “If you fall asleep, you will have two or three players pressing you. We have to be more precise than usual.”
Yet Barcelona head into the match on a high after an impressive win over an in-form Atletico Madrid, thanks to a single goal from Ferran Torres. The Catalans now face a home side beaten 2-1 at Real Sociedad last time out in La Liga.
Barcelona Without Some Key Players
Xavi will also have to cope without some key players at Vallecas. Ousmane Dembele and Andreas Christensen are still not ready to return from injury and have not made the squad. Xavi told his press conference the duo will return against Real Betis on Saturday, April 29.
Captain Sergio Busquets is also missing after picking up a one-match ban for yellow card accumulation. The only other absentee is Sergi Roberto, who remains on the injured list with a hamstring problem.
Barcelona will be favorites to pick up three points on Wednesday but have found it tough going against Rayo in recent fixtures. The Catalans lost 1-0 on their last visit to Vallecas in October 2021 in La Liga and were held to a goalless draw by Rayo on the opening day of the season at the Camp Nou.
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