Barcelona-Madrid row escalates


A row between Barcelona and Real Madrid which erupted after Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg escalated on Thursday when the pair filed complaints with UEFA. Barcelona, who won 2-0 in an ill-tempered match at the Bernabeu, struck first when they announced they would formally denounce comments Real coach Jose Mourinho made belittling Pep Guardiola’s past achievements.
Real responded by saying they would file their own complaint with European soccer governing body about what they called repeated diving by some of the Barca players. For their part, UEFA announced disciplinary probes into the Mourinho sending-off and subsequent outburst at his post-match news conference. Real midfielder Pepe and Barca reserve goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto will also face hearings after being shown red cards, while nine-times European champions Real will have to explain incidents of missile-throwing and a pitch invasion.
“We want to stand firm when the war of words passes certain limits and we believe Mr Mourinho crossed this line yesterday,” Barca spokesman Toni Freixa told reporters after an extraordinary club board meeting. “We are going to present a case to UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary committee against Mr Mourinho for breaking UEFA’s disciplinary code. “It’s unacceptable that anyone can question our titles or our link with UNICEF. “It isn’t our intention to fans the flames but to put them out, because we believe coaches should only talk about footballing matters and not things which could incite violence.”
In a statement on their website ( later on Thursday, Real said they had no choice but to respond with a representation of their own to UEFA and expressed their backing for Mourinho. Barca had shown “non-sporting conduct” and their players had “persistently simulated aggression against them with the sole aim of provoking errors from the referee,” the statement said, adding that Pepe’s dismissal had been unfair.
The club said they were surprised disciplinary proceedings had been opened against Mourinho, who had only expressed his opposition to winning at all costs and his support for the principles of “loyalty, integrity and sporting spirit.” Mourinho more determined: Jose Mourinho is more determined than ever to continue as Real Madrid coach. “I have more desire to continue as coach of Real Madrid,” Mourinho, whose side’s next game is at home to Real Zaragoza on Saturday, told a news conference.
“The (Real) shirt is white and white has meaning,” the 48-year-old former Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan manager added. “I am in very good shape. My health is perfect and I am working as always.” Mourinho said on Friday he did not want to add to his comments at a post-match news conference, which prompted UEFA to open disciplinary proceedings against him. “I don’t want to speak about the issue for a simple reason: a picture is worth more than words,” he said, referring to the thousands of published images of Pepe’s challenge on Daniel Alves that resulted in his sending-off.
“I have nothing else to say. I have said what I wanted,” added Mourinho, who has been widely criticised for using ultra-defensive tactics in a home tie and failing to field creative players such as Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain.