Barcelona head coach Xavi angered his counterpart at upcoming Copa del Rey opponents Ceuta after suggesting the Blaugrana were “lucky” to get a favourable tie.
Saturday’s draw for the last 16 saw Barca paired with the lowest-ranked side left in the competition, as Ceuta prop up Group 1 of the Primera Division RFEF, Spain’s third tier.
Xavi subsequently said he thought Barca had “been lucky in a draw for the first time since I’ve been a coach here”, referencing the club’s tricky previous assignments in the Copa, Champions League and Europa League under the former Spain international.
Nevertheless, Xavi also pointed to the fact another third-tier side in Intercity caused them problems in the round of 32, taking Barca to extra time before Ansu Fati secured a 4-3 victory.
But the use of the word “lucky” irritated Ceuta boss Jose Juan Romero, who surmised Xavi was out of touch because he had not needed to build his way up from the bottom of the football pyramid in his coaching career.
“We don’t go into the game to ask for their shirts, we are going to go all out,” Romero told Cadena SER.
Tenemos rival para octavos de final de Copa del Rey
¡¡El @FCBarcelona vuelve a Ceuta!!
Enhorabuena a toda la familia caballa
— AD CEUTA FC (@ADCeuta_FC) January 7, 2023
“When the game is over, we will see if there has been more luck or less luck.
“Maybe he doesn’t know what it takes for [smaller] teams to get to these situations, because he has had a much easier path in the coaching world.
“I can’t be two-faced, I don’t have another [face]. I always try to respect a lot, and I give so much value to the lower leagues because I come from the bottom. [Xavi’s comment] didn’t sit well with me or the club.
“I am an admirer of Xavi. As a footballer, for me, he has been one of the greatest for Spain, but he has surprised me. I didn’t like it.
“We are going to go into the game with great enthusiasm. For sure, they will not have it easy.
“Then, maybe they’ll put five past us, but we are going to play the game.”
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