Xavi 'surprised' Vinicius Junior red card vs Valencia was rescinded amid racism storm as Barcelona boss insists: 'There was aggression and that’s unquestionable'
- Vinicius Jr sent off amid racism storm
- La Liga since rescinded that suspension
- Xavi has questioned that decision
WHAT HAPPENED? The Brazilian was on the receiving end of vile racist taunts from Valencia fans before and during Real Madrid's league fixture at Mestalla on Sunday. After the match was momentarily paused for racist abuse from the stands, tensions naturally boiled over for Vinicius, who was sent off for appearing to slap Hugo Duro in a stoppage-time melee.
WHAT THEY SAID: After coming under widespread criticism for their handling of events, La Liga reversed their decision to suspend Vinicius while also announcing partial closures to their home stadium. Speaking after Barca's 3-1 loss at Valladolid on Tuesday, Xavi expressed his shock at the U-turn, telling reporters: "I’m surprised that Vinicius’ suspension has been removed. There was aggression and that’s unquestionable."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Xavi did, however, offer words of support for Vinicius immediately after Sunday's shocking events, as La Liga continues to grapple with a racism problem that has seen the Real winger alone file 10 official complaints with the governing body.
Things are far from rosy in Catalunya either. Despite being newly crowned champions, reports of positional disagreements with defender Jules Kounde suggest that he is forcing a move away from the club. But Xavi weighed in on Tuesday to rubbish such rumours, adding: “When I spoke with Kounde, we knew where the conversation was going and we both left happy. I spoke with Kounde. I was very clear with him, and he knows that the media are making a lot of noise. There’s no problem."
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WHAT NEXT FOR BARCA? After securing their first La Liga title in four years, it appears Xavi's side have let their foot off the gas, with two defeats and five goals conceded since their 4-2 at Espanyol. The Catalan giants will do their best to avoid three successive defeats for the first time this campaign when they host Mallorca in their penultimate league fixture on Sunday.