Xavi Hernández Slams Referee After Barcelona's Champions League Exit

Barcelona manager Xavi slams referee's "disaster" decisions in Champions League exit to PSG, claiming they "ruined" Barca's season. Controversial refereeing sparks debate on fairness in high-stakes European matches.

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Nimrah Khatoon
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Xavi Hernández Slams Referee After Barcelona's Champions League Exit

Xavi Hernández Slams Referee After Barcelona's Champions League Exit

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernández heavily criticized referee István Kovács following his team's Champions League elimination against Paris Saint-Germain. Barça had a 3-2 aggregate lead after the first leg, but a red card to Ronald Araújo early in the second leg allowed PSG to score four unanswered goals and win the tie 6-4 on aggregate.

Xavi was sent off for kicking a safety barrier and later called Kovács "a disaster" and "very poor", saying the referee's decisions "ruined" Barcelona's season. The Barcelona coach claimed that the dismissal of Araújo was unnecessary and marked the tie completely, making it very difficult for his team to play with 10 men.

Despite taking an early lead through Raphinha's goal, Barcelona collapsed after going down to 10 men, with Ousmane Dembélé, Vitinha, and Kylian Mbappé scoring for PSG to overturn the first-leg deficit. Xavi also criticized the referee's performance in the first leg, claiming he should have given a second yellow card to a PSG player.

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong said it was a big blow as they were convinced they could go through, but they couldn't do any more after the red card. The defeat marks Xavi's last Champions League match as Barcelona manager, as he had earlier confirmed his departure from the club after three years in charge.

Why this matters: Barcelona's elimination leaves them with little hope of winning any trophies this season, as they have also been eliminated from the Copa del Rey and trail Real Madrid by 8 points in La Liga with 7 matches remaining. The controversial refereeing decisions have sparked debates about the fairness and consistency of officiating in high-stakes Champions League matches.

Xavi expressed frustration that the "work of the season was ruined by an unnecessary expulsion" and said he told the referee that the decision was "very bad" and a "disaster" that "killed the tie". Barcelona now face Real Madrid in La Liga on Sunday, but Xavi said the focus should be on "resting and charging their batteries" after the disappointing European exit.

Key Takeaways

  • Xavi heavily criticized referee István Kovács after Barcelona's UCL exit to PSG.
  • Araújo's red card early in the 2nd leg allowed PSG to score 4 unanswered goals.
  • Xavi claimed the referee's decisions "ruined" Barcelona's season and were a "disaster".
  • Barcelona's elimination leaves them with little hope of winning trophies this season.
  • Xavi said the focus should be on resting after the disappointing European exit.