Barcelona’s Xavi on suing journalists: ‘I won’t tolerate lies’

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández confirmed on Friday that he is taking legal action against two journalists he said made up stories about him.

Reports surfaced this week claiming Xavi was not happy with one report that said he demanded his coaching staff all put their phones on the table so he could determine if there was a leak from his own team.

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Another story centred on a journalist who claimed Xavi messaged him complaining about criticism he had published, which was denied by sources close to the Barça boss at the time with the reporter in question later backtracking.

“I understand criticism but there is a line,” Xavi said in a news conference ahead of Saturday’s LaLiga game against Las Palmas at the Olympic Stadium.

“I won’t tolerate lies or people inventing things. It is time to say enough, they are massive lies, so now is the moment to act.”

Xavi has criticised the media on several occasions this season, suggesting in December that negative press was affecting his team’s performances.

After reaching the Champions League quarterfinals this month, he then singled out and condemned an article from December which had suggested Barça were the “joke” of Europe’s elite competition.

The intense media environment which surrounds the club was one of the factors behind his January announcement that he will step down at the end of the season.

Since then, Barça have been unbeaten in 10 games, reaching the last eight of the Champions League for the first time since 2020 and climbing to second in LaLiga, although they remain eight points behind leaders Real Madrid.

It has led to calls for Xavi, who led Barça to the LaLiga title last season, to backtrack on his decision and commit to taking charge of the Catalan side next year.

“I am grateful that people want me to stay, but nothing has changed, I am thinking of the club’s best interests,” he added.

Barça’s recent form has been underpinned by the emergence of Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsí, who aged 16 and 17 respectively are already internationals with Spain.

Attacker Yamal starred for his country in Tuesday’s 3-3 draw against Brazil, earning a standing ovation from the Santiago Bernabéu crowd, while defender Cubarsí came off the bench in that game after making his debut against Colombia last Friday.

“They have to maintain their level — Barça is the highest rung of world football,” Xavi said when asked about the next step for the two youngsters.

“Many have arrived [at the elite level], but maintaining it is very difficult, but they can, they have everything, the mentality, the capacity … I think we’re looking at two players who can define an era at the club, and even in world football.”

Ferran Torres will return from injury for Las Palmas’ visit this weekend, while Jules Koundé, Ronald Araújo and Robert Lewandowski are all fit after picking up minor knocks on international duty this week.

Andreas Christensen is out with an injury, though, with Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Alejandro Balde and Gavi still sidelined.