Xavi saddened by relegation chants aimed at Barcelona as ‘mafia’ bank notes are thrown by Athletic Club fans

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Barcelona boss Xavi was “sad” to hear relegation chants and fake “mafia” banknotes aimed at his side by supporters of Athletic Club.
  • Catalan giants caught up in corruption storm
  • Being targeted by opposition supporters
  • Still sit top of the Liga table

WHAT HAPPENED? The Blaugrana visited San Mames on Sunday and left with a 1-0 win courtesy of a solitary goal from Raphinha. A positive result has cemented Barca’s standing at the top of La Liga, but they continue to generate unfortunate headlines in an ongoing corruption scandal that has seen them face allegations of buying favour from match officials through payments made to former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, between 2001 and 2018.

WHAT THEY SAID: With Barca falling under the microscope, Athletic fans could be heard calling for their domestic rivals to be relegated “to the second division” while also throwing banknotes stamped with “mafia $” onto the pitch. Xavi responded to those antics by saying: “I respect the fans at San Mames. They have always treated me well, but I was surprised at the hostile atmosphere towards Barca. It was sad to see. [Barca] are being judged before time, which I don't think is good for society. Everyone is free to [air their opinion], and I respect all opinions, whether I agree with them or not, but it made me sad.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Pressed further on whether atmosphere in the stands could impact upcoming performances from his players, Barcelona legend Xavi added: “I don't have anything else to add, [just that] it makes me sad. We have not spoken about it in the dressing room with the players. We are here to win and are focused on the football. We are all professionals.”

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Xavi Barcelona 2022-23


WHAT NEXT? Barcelona, who are nine points clear of Real Madrid in the title race, are set to face their arch-rivals in an eagerly-anticipated Clasico contest at Camp Nou on Sunday.