Xavi Barcelona Coach Disappointed

Xavi Cancels Barcelona Training Session Amid Dressing Room Rift

Barcelona manager Xavi canceled his team’s training session on Thursday (April 18) — four days before his team’s do-or-die La Liga clash with bitter foes Real Madrid. According to Spanish outlet Diario AS, a dressing room rift, induced by Ilkay Gundogan’s statement, compelled the Spanish tactician to abandon the session.

Ilkay Gundogan Publicly Criticized Ronald Araujo After Barcelona’s Defeat To PSG

Barcelona suffered a harrowing 4-1 defeat (6-4 on aggregate) to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Estadi Lluis Olimpic Companys in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night (April 16). The Blaugrana struck through Raphinha in the 12th minute, going 1-0 up on the night and 4-2 up on aggregate. It looked like smooth sailing for the hosts until Ronald Araujo saw a straight red for a last-man foul on Bradley Barcola.

Playing with 10 men against a team out for blood — the outcome was pretty predictable. Ousmane Dembele and Vitinha leveled the score on aggregate for the Parisians before Kylian Mbappe took it away with a second-half brace.

After the game, Barcelona midfielder Ilkay Gundogan bluntly questioned Araujo’s decision-making, saying the defender should have kept his cool and even let Barcola pass. According to Gundogan, going down to 10 men robbed Barcelona of the opportunity to put up a fair fight.

He said (via Forbes):

I prefer to, of course, concede the goal there and maybe give the striker a one-on-one even though he played the ball quite far. I don’t even know if he was able to reach the ball. But give him the opportunity, let our goalkeeper maybe save us, or even concede a goal because to go down one man and get a red card so early, it just kills the game.”

Atmosphere Is Tense At Barca Following Gundogan’s Statement

As per AS, Gundogan’s statement has not sat well with the Barcelona dressing room. Xavi and his staff reportedly picked up on the negativity inside the dressing room on Wednesday (April 17) and thought it would be better not to hold a training session in a hostile atmosphere. Xavi is rethinking his team’s preparations for the mega showdown but has only three days to find a solution.

It is not the first time Gundogan has drawn the wrath of his teammates with his outburst. He had a similar reaction when Barcelona lost the first El Clasico of the season in October. Like last time, he may have to explain himself to defuse the situation.

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