Barcelona playmaker Xavi said on Sunday that he was ready for a “football war” with Real Madrid, but not a war of words with their outspoken coach Jose Mourinho.
“We won’t get into a war of words,” said Xavi, after inspiring Barca to a 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla on his return from injury on Saturday.
“We want a football war on the pitch.”
Mourinho, who is famed for his press conference soundbites, suggested earlier in the season that Barcelona’s opponents sometimes failed to put up a fight against them.
He also sought to relieve pressure on under-fire Real striker Karim Benzema by comparing him to Barca forward David Villa, who was without a goal in three games until he netted a brace against Sevilla.
Xavi added that he felt almost fully recovered from his knee tendinitis, which had kept him on the sidelines for two matches.
“I feel almost 100 percent again,” said the Spain international.
“I hope to play in every match but it depends on the pain.”