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Former Real Madrid manager talks Barcelona, Xavi, Lewandowski, Negreira case: “It’s a scandal”

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(Photo by RYAN LIM/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with Spanish publication MARCA, former Italy head coach Fabio Capello has criticized Barcelona manager Xavi, saying that he does not seem prepared for every opponent.

The former Real Madrid manager also explained that it’s not just Xavi who is failing at Barcelona, but even his players, Roberto Lewandowski in particular, are letting the manager down.

Barcelona, despite qualifying for the Copa del Rey quarter-final, are struggling to get a strong footing this season so much so that defending their La Liga titles is already considered out of reach.

The team from Catalonia is currently third in the points table, a whopping seven points off second-placed Real Madrid and eight points behind current leaders Girona.

Xavi needs to learn more

Capello explained that Xavi just cannot expect his players to play the same way all the time. He said that the 43-year-old needs to adapt his strategy according to the opponent by analysing their strengths and weaknesses.

“There are coaches who insist: ‘This is my system, it’s my way of playing.’ You have to study and prepare for each match, you have to always have a winning spirit and mentality,” said Capello. 

“But one of the most important things is knowing your opponent and how to play with them, their characteristics, where they are good and where they are not.”

Xavi needs to be more flexible in his appraoch. (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

Adding to his reference, Capello explained how the last El Clasico panned out and why it was easy for Real Madrid to beat Barcelona.

“Many coaches say: “You have to play this way.” And no, you can’t always play the same way. Watch the last Madrid-Barça. 

You know they have quality players and very fast forwards, and you put the defensive line in the middle of the field… ‘Well, thank you very much!’, Carlo must have thought.

He added that he is not surprised by the criticism directed towards Xavi, but he did point out that he is not entirely at fault at Barcelona.

“That [criticism] always happens. Lewandowski is failing him a little, he is not the same as last year, and that is important. 

“There are few centre-forwards. Haaland is a player who improves every year, because he is young; but Lewandowski this year is not playing at the level we know him to be. And that is a problem,” he added.

Capello’s thoughts on the Negreira Case

Barcelona are currently dealing with the persisting Negreira Case and the timeline of the event ironically coincides with Capello’s tenure with Real Madrid. Speaking on the aforementioned, he said that the event is very unfortunate for football.

“It is incredible, something very bad for football. It’s a scandal. I don’t understand either of them. 

“If you are the president of Barcelona and you give money to the referee vice president, you know that this is not correct as a club; and if you take that money being the vice president of the referees, even worse,” he said.

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