COPA DEL REY
The ‘insults’ of El Clásico: Real Madrid winger Vinícius, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández, Gavi…
Barcelona edged out Real Madrid by a single goal in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg, in which tensions were running high.
Xavi Hernández’s Barcelona took a big step towards reaching the final of the Copa del Rey - which will be played at La Cartuja in Seville on 6 May - thanks to a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Thursday. The return leg at Camp Nou (on Wednesday 5 April) will settle the tie, the first leg of which saw very little soccer played. By contrast, there was no shortage of tension and controversy, which Xavi himself got caught up in, along with Gavi, Dani Carvajal and Vinícius Júnior.
Real Madrid’s Brazilian winger was once again in the spotlight but his performance on this occasion stood out more for altercations with opponents and protests towards the referee. Once such incident midway through the first half saw Vinícius shown a yellow card after a tussle with Barça midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who he grabbed by the neck and threw to the ground in a move that appeared more at home in judo rather than in soccer.
What did Vinícius say to referee Munuera Montero?
That wouldn’t be the attacker’s first or last disagreement of the match with referee José Luis Munuera Montero, who was surrounded by Real Madrid players after blowing the final whistle. Along with Karim Benzema and Dani Carvajal, Vinícius approached the match official and, according to the cameras of Spanish broadcaster Movistar+, pointed an accusing finger at the man in the middle: “He fouled me first. It’s always the same with you! Always the same!” Despite the Brazilian’s dissent, Munuera Montero refrained from brandishing a second yellow card.
Gavi’s vulgar blast at Vinícius
Vinícius also got involved in something of a slanging match with Gavi not longer after the second half had got underway. Moments after being booked for tangling with the Madrid winger, the famously feisty Barça youngster leaned in as the pair exchanged heated words. The old ‘covering the mouth’ trick wasn’t enough to prevent viewers on Movistar+ from detecting that he had called Vini a “hijo de puta” (’son of a bitch’).
Xavi and Carvajal go head to head
And the insults didn’t end there, although Xavi’s effort towards Dani Carvajal could be described as being slightly less vulgar. Midway through the second period, the Barcelona boss was furious with the Real Madrid full-back, who got involved in some afters with Alejandro Balde following an aerial challenge. “You’re very clever”, began Xavi, before gesturing with his hands that Carvajal spoke too much. When the Madrid defender bit back, the former Spain midfielder changed his tune, “Stupid, you’re stupid”.
With the stakes set to be even higher in the second leg in Catalonia in a month’s time, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more of the same at Camp Nou.