Xavi not looking for Inter revenge in 'very important' San Siro showdown

By Sports Desk October 03, 2022

Xavi will not be on a revenge mission when Barcelona face Inter in a "very important" Champions League showdown at San Siro on Tuesday.

Head coach Xavi was in the Barca side knocked out of the Champions League by Inter at the semi-final stage in 2010.

The Blaugrana were beaten 3-1 in the first leg in Milan and failed to overturn that deficit, crashing out after winning 1-0 at Camp Nou against Jose Mourinho's men, who went on to lift the trophy.

Xavi returns to San Siro with the two sides both having picked up three points from their opening two Group C games, with Barca beaten 2-0 at leaders Bayern Munich last month.

And the former Spain midfielder is motivated by the prospect of qualifying for the last 16 rather than having a score to settle.

He said: "I have no feeling of [wanting] revenge. I come here as a coach this time. I remember that we had to travel by bus [to Milan] because of the volcano, but they were a great team.

"It was difficult for us in the first leg. We lost it here. It was a controversial tie, but this is how it is. It's a bitter memory for us, unfortunately."

Inter boss Simone Inzaghi is under pressure with his side ninth in Serie A following back-to-back defeats to Udinese and Roma.

But Xavi is not reading anything into the Nerazzurri's poor form, as he knows they have the quality to turn things around.

"It's not significant," he said. "It's Inter, a very strong team. They have a different system to anything we've come across so far.

"They play with two strikers, something you don't see too much in Spain. They're a tough opponent, with good dynamics, but that has to be shown."

Xavi added: "I have it quite clear. Despite the size of the rival, we are clear that we want to dominate. It is an important rival. It is the Champions League. It is not a definitive match, but it is very important for the future of the group."

Inter have won just two of their 14 European matches against Barcelona, a 2-1 victory in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in January 1970 and that 3-1 Champions League triumph in April 2010.

However, Barca's only two away wins against the Nerazzurri came 60 years apart, winning 4-2 in the Fairs Cup in September 1959 and 2-1 in the Champions League in December 2019.

Related items

  • Tite slams 'evil lies' and 'fake news' surrounding Gabriel Jesus injury Tite slams 'evil lies' and 'fake news' surrounding Gabriel Jesus injury

    Brazil coach Tite has slammed the "haters" spreading "evil lies" and "fake news" about Gabriel Jesus' injury.

    Arsenal forward Jesus, along with Sevilla defender Alex Telles, will miss the rest of the World Cup with a knee injury sustained in Friday's defeat to Cameroon.

    Reports from Brazil are now claiming the 25-year-old – who has been crucial to Arsenal's form this season – could miss up to three months.

    There have also been rumours that Jesus initially suffered a problem before playing in the Cameroon game, but Tite strongly denied these claims in a venomous rebuttal in his press conference ahead of Monday's last-16 tie with South Korea.

    "I don't like hearing lies, evil lies, those [come from] the people who want to do bad things for others," Tite said.

    "At no time whatsoever do we play for victory at the risk of peril for a player, so the liars that are out there, the haters, who keep giving hate, go and do something else and stop giving fake news.

    " Arsenal have a great medical department, we have a great medical department. We are responsible, ethical.

    "It's a shame, very sorry for Gabriel. [On Saturday] we had Neymar, Thiago [Silva] and Marquinhos chatting with him and then Telles.

    "We then added [assistant coach] Cesar [Sampaio] who has also had this experience. It was not to take the pain away but just to make them feel better, strengthen them and for them to be able to participate as much as possible."

    Sampaio, who featured at the 1998 World Cup for Brazil, added: "At no moment were we made aware of an injury. We will never put health at risk for a result.

    "Injury is difficult in an athlete's career, regardless of when it happens. We feel fragile when we cannot do what we love, especially at a World Cup.

    "We spent time to give them support, we do not know what we have ahead of us but regardless of not being with us physically, they are with this team."

    On the positive side for Brazil, Neymar will be fit to feature against South Korea should he come through Sunday's training session without any issues, while Danilo is also available.

  • Messi primed for World Cup glory after 'liberating' Copa America triumph, says Aguero Messi primed for World Cup glory after 'liberating' Copa America triumph, says Aguero

    Lionel Messi was liberated by winning last year's Copa America and is relishing his leading role in Argentina's World Cup bid, according to former team-mate Sergio Aguero.

    Messi scored his ninth World Cup goal – and his first in a knockout tie – as Argentina claimed a 2-1 victory over Australia on Saturday, teeing up a quarter-final meeting with the Netherlands.

    The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner's strike, a trademark left-footed finish after cutting inside from the right, also saw him surpass Diego Maradona's tally of eight World Cup goals for Argentina. Only Gabriel Batistuta (10) now has more for the country.

    Messi highlighted his "beautiful" bond with Argentina's supporters after the win, but Aguero believes that is a recent development, one which came about as a result of the Albiceleste ending a 28-year wait to win the Copa America last July.

    "Leo is going to do everything possible to achieve the goal that we all want," the former Argentina international told ESPN. 

    "Leo is happy and content. The Copa America changed his life, it gave him life. After the Copa America, he was happy again in the national team, like when we were in the under-20s.

    "He lived with criticism and lost finals for a long time. The Copa America was liberating for him."

    Prior to Argentina's triumph over hosts Brazil last year, Messi had suffered the ignominy of losing four major international finals, failing to help his team over the line at the 2014 World Cup or the 2007, 2015 and 2016 editions of the Copa America.

    Recalling that victory in Rio de Janeiro, Aguero said Brazil – who could meet Argentina in the World Cup semi-finals – would not relish a rematch.

    "If we made it to the quarter-finals, let me be excited," Aguero said. "Do you think that Brazil wants to meet Argentina in the semi-finals? 

    "Brazil has just lost the Copa America final, I think they don't want that match."

  • Wenger suggests 'political demonstrations' contributed to Germany's shock World Cup exit Wenger suggests 'political demonstrations' contributed to Germany's shock World Cup exit

    Arsene Wenger has suggested Germany's early elimination from the World Cup was linked to their decision to carry out "political demonstrations" in Qatar.

    Germany slumped to a second consecutive group-stage exit as Japan and Spain progressed from Group E, failing to recover from a surprise 2-1 defeat to the Samurai Blue on matchday one.

    Ahead of that fixture, Germany's players covered their mouths during a team photo to protest FIFA's decision to ban captain Manuel Neuer from wearing the OneLove armband – a gesture intended to promote an anti-discriminatory message in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

    A statement from the team said "denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice", but some – most notably Belgium winger Eden Hazard – claimed the protest may have distracted Germany's players.

    Wenger, the head of FIFA's Technical Study Group for the tournament, agreed with that suggestion, saying: "When you go to a World Cup, you know you can't lose the first game. 

    "The teams who have the experience to perform in tournaments like France and England played well in the first game.

    "The teams who were mentally ready, with a mindset to focus on competition, and not the political demonstrations."

    Speaking after the defeat to Japan, Germany coach Hansi Flick insisted his players were "not at all" distracted by their decision to take a stand on the OneLove debate.

    Germany were one of several European teams to initially commit to wearing the armband, but each backed down ahead of the World Cup after facing the apparent threat of sporting sanctions.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.