Barcelona star Xavi condemns Turkish referee Cakir for 'very harsh' Nani red card
13:57 GMT, 8 March 2013
13:57 GMT, 8 March 2013
Barcelona captain Xavi Hernandez has added his voice to the condemnation of Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir’s sending off of Nani against Real Madrid.
The Spain international told Mundo Deportivo: 'Nani is going for the ball so I think it was very harsh. It changes the game; a red card should be for something much worse. There is so little between the big teams in Europe that a sending off makes so much difference.
'I always say with these incidents that you have to look at the intention of the player. Nani is looking at the ball and not at the defender. For me it is very harsh.'
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Barcelona benefited from a similar sending off two years ago at the semi-final stage against Real Madrid. But Xavi said: 'I don’t think it is the same because Pepe goes to make the foul. He can see (Dani) Alves throughout the entire incident.
'Nani, on the other hand, doesn’t. Nani sees the ball and wants to control it. He is ‘playing’, not ‘defending’, he does not set out to foul the opponent so the two incidents are completely different.'
Meanwhile, Cakir defended his decision today, telling newspaper AS: 'I feel good and I do not doubt my decisions. Nani's red was correct. The world will realise the truth over time.'
The official also brandished other high-profile red cards in matches involving English teams, dismissing John Terry in Chelsea's Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona last season, Mario Balotelli in a Europa League game against Dynamo Kiev and, earlier this season, Steven Gerrard during England's World Cup draw with Ukraine and Gary Cahill in the Club World Cup defeat to Corinthians.
'In the previous games with the English teams there was no unfair decision,' Cakir added.
'What decision was incorrect The red to Terry or Balotelli I don't think I made a mistake in showing those cards and sending them off.'
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Regarding being at the centre of controversy this week, Cakir said: 'It hasn't made me feel sad. I don't think about it.
'I've received more criticism on other occasions, but I've always got up and recovered. I can do it again.'
Backing: Xavi (centre) sympathised with Nani