Barcelona legend, Xavi says Real Madrid’s football is not a beautiful thing to watch, and they refuse to emulate their bitter Catalan rivals.
Madrid won a double last season, claiming the La Liga and the Champions League, but languish in fourth, 16 points behind Barcelona.
And Xavi believes that Los Blancos not playing beautiful football like Barcelona, is why they are far off.
“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.”
“Madrid break apart, seven players attack and Casemiro stays back on his own to cover the centre,” the 37-year-old continued. “[Barca midfielder Sergio] Busquets cannot do that as even I am faster than he is. Casemiro is super fast, but he has trouble with everything else as he has not worked on it.
“He has other characteristics, is more defensive, makes more tackles, covers more ground, but he does not dominate space-time. If you had started with Casemiro aged 12, 13, 15, then he would have that.”
“These youngsters need to know what [former Spain coach] Luis Aragones told me,” he said. “Do you want to play pretty football or good football? I don’t want to name names, but in La Liga many players have impressed and then disappeared without trace. They do tricks, but for what? Messi does not do tricks, never. Messi goes for the kill. Messi is good football, and so good at the same time that it becomes pretty.”