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Iker, Xavi still friends, despite Jose

SoccerNews in European Championships, La Liga 4 Jul 2012

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Spain captain Iker Casillas’ friendship with Barcelona midfielder Xavi got into trouble with Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.

Xavi’s father revealed the story on Spanish radio, claiming the two have been friends since they were teenagers, but their strong bond was put to the test during the heated encounters between Barca and Madrid in recent years.

Casillas and Xavi managed to put any conflicts aside off the field, and although the Barcelona playmaker’s father has cited the duo’s behaviour as one of the reasons for Spain’s success at international level, Mourinho was unhappy that his skipper remained friends with a rival player.

“Iker got into a lot of trouble with Mourinho over his friendship with Xavi. These problems became public last season and everybody knows about it. Xavi and Iker never had any intention to end their friendship,” the Barcelona star’s father said to Com Radio.

“If it weren’t for Xavi, Casillas and Vicente del Bosque, Spain would not have come this far. The Clasicos led to difficult moments. Relationships between players who used to be friends were about to go sour.

“There were issues with (Alvaro) Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos among others. The behaviour of some players wasn’t appropriate. Luckily Iker and Xavi then got involved.”

Despite reports of a divided squad in the lead up to Spain’s Euro 2012 campaign, Spain successfully defended their European title on Sunday, defeating Italy 4-0 in the final.

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