Barcelona coach Xavi says referee scandal 'won't destabilise us' ahead of Clasico

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez in a press conference ahead of his team's game against Real Madrid in LaLiga in March 2023.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Barcelona coach Xavi says the club are 'more stable than ever' ahead of Sunday's Clasico clash at home to Real Madrid and claims the Blaugrana will not be affected by the ongoing refereeing controversy.

Barça are being investigated by the authorities in Spain after it emerged the Catalan club had paid €7 million over a number of years to former referee chief Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.

President Joan Laporta has claimed that Barcelona are victims of a vicious campaign and is yet to explain the payments.

Asked on Saturday if the talk could affect Barça, Xavi said: "They will not destabilise us. We are more stable than ever. And they have been trying [to destabilise us] now since day one.

"We are completely focused on winning on Sunday and making a big statement in the title race. We are not thinking about anything else."

Barcelona are nine points ahead of Real Madrid and can extend that gap to 12 with victory at Camp Nou on Sunday.

"It won't be definitive if we win, but it would represent a real step forward," Xavi said. I am really up for it. "It's my first Clasico at Camp Nou [as coach] and I love these games."

Barcelona have won nine of their games by a 1-0 scoreline in LaLiga this season and that has brought criticism from some, but Xavi says he would be delighted to claim another narrow victory on Sunday.

"What is it with this [focus] on the 1-0?" he said after a question about those results. "If I could choose, I prefer a 4-0 or a 5-4, but it's hard to score goals.

"Those that have not played football at an elite level can't understand what it's like to have an opponent in front of you, especially Madrid, the Champions League holders. To beat them 1-0 is a fantastic result."

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