Xavi Hernandez believes Spanish and European champions Real Madrid are currently suffering because they don’t want to play beautiful football like their bitter rivals Barcelona.
The former Barca midfielder believes Madrid lack the culture of beautiful football at the Santiago Bernabeu, highlighting Jose Mourinho’s time in charge from 2010-13.
“Barcelona is the final exam for a player,” Xavi – who now plays for Al Sadd in Qatar – told El Pais. “It is the most difficult club and the most demanding in the world. Madrid do not play so beautifully. At the Bernabeu, if a defender hoofs the ball into the stand it is fine. That is the culture. The fans applaud.”
“At the Camp Nou you knock the ball into the stand and the grumbles are so loud it is negative. Since [Johan] Cruyff’s time.”
Xavi added: “Mourinho’s Madrid hit the ball direct over the top. Mourinho told his players never to stop the ball, to play quickly and then [Angel] Di Maria, Cristiano [Ronaldo] or [Karim] Benzema would break. Now they do it with [Gareth] Bale. They don’t want to play football.”