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27.01.2010 16:57

Xavi defends Messi" over Ronaldo comparison

Sandra Sarmiento

Xavi Hernández has praised Leo Messi’s good record of behaviour on the pitch and rejected any comparison with the incident that saw Cristiano Ronaldo sent off in Sunday’s match between Real Madrid and Malaga.

The Spanish FA handed Ronaldo a two-match ban on Tuesday for the incident in Sunday’s league match between Real Madrid and Malaga that left Malaga defender Mtiliga with a broken nose. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Xavi explained: “In my opinion the incident is quite clear. It’s a red card and a two-match ban is fully justified”.

Support for Messi

2010-01-27_CLAUSURA_V_PROJECTE_SOLIDARI_DE_PERIODISME_ESPORTIU_002.jpgReal Madrid have appealed against the decision and have cited an incident involving Messi and Sevilla defender Marc Valiente in Ronaldo’s defence: "You have to assess the intention of the player. Leo wants to carry on playing and Cristiano wants to get rid of the defender by striking out. Leo is the number one. And his image cannot be damaged in this way. He’s modest, hard-working and always thinks of the group. He’s not like other footballers”.

Players meet for dinner

The players took advantage of the absence of any midweek matches to have dinner together and promote the good atmosphere in the squad: “The squad is really united. They're a fantastic bunch. It’s the first dinner we’ve had together this season. It’s good to clear our heads and it’s good to have everyone involved”.

”I want to win it all”

2009-10-02_ENTRENO_35.JPGBarça currently enjoy a five-point lead over second-placed Real Madrid in the league and are through to the R16 of the Champions League. Xavi told us: “We’re on the right track and there’s still a winning dynamic”. This weekend, Real Madrid face a tough match away to Deportivo: “There are a lot of points left and we’d like to increase the gap. There’s a long way to go in the league and Real Madrid will fight to the end. We cannot relax but we are lucky that it’s in our own hands”.

Asked if he would prefer to win the Champions League or the World Cup, Xavi revealed: “I like being competitive. Luckily, we’re going well and we should try for everything. The final of the Champions League, for all that the Bernabéu represents, is even more motivating and we have the league heading in the right direction. I want to win it all”. He also gave his backing to a proposal to play some league matches on Mondays: “It seems fine to me and football people will be delighted. We can adapt to anything”.

Club presidential elections

Xavi has spent most of his life at Barça and knows the Club inside out. Who better to comment on the presidential elections due to be held this year: “For the sake of the squad it’s probably better to hold the elections at the end of the season. This is a matter for the Board; it depends on the president”. Having predicted that Guardiola would extend his stay as manager, Xavi joked: “Maybe in three months’ time I can predict who will be the next president”.
Xavi defends Messi“ over Ronaldo comparison

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A book worth reading
Xavi is the patron of a project created by Catalan sports journalists in 2004. The latest edition of their book 'Historias solidarias del deporte' has generated 48,975 euros for the Alex Foundation, dedicated to helping vulnerable children and the disabled.

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