Xavi’s Barcelona U-turn was ‘correct decision’ – Ancelotti

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Thursday that Xavi Hernández’s choice to stay on as Barcelona manager is the “correct decision.”

Xavi, 44, had announced in January that he would walk away from the post at the end of the season, but has now opted to remain in charge until the end of his contract in 2025.

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“I think Xavi has done a good job at Barcelona,” Ancelotti told a news conference. “He knows the club very well and it seems to me to be the correct decision to stay.

Asked whether a person’s word matters more than a contract, Ancelotti said: “Well, well, well … What a question. Everything is important.

“We have to respect that people can change their opinion. It’s not in writing. How many times have I changed opinion in my career? It’s allowed.”

Ancelotti also responded to Barça president Joan Laporta’s claim that Madrid’s 3-2 victory in El Clásico on Sunday should be replayed if it is proven a VAR error led to Lamine Yamal‘s goal not being awarded at the Bernabéu.

Yamal’s effort was scooped from the goalmouth by Madrid goalkeeper Andrey Lunin at 1-1 in the first half and with no goal-line technology in LaLiga, VAR ruled that the shot did not cross the line.

Asked if Laporta’s comments annoyed him, Ancelotti said: “No [it doesn’t annoy me]. We have such a good feeling at the moment that nothing going on around us affects us at all. We want to end this season fantastically and the things happening around us don’t impact us.”

Jude Bellingham‘s stoppage-time winner moved Madrid 11 points clear of Barça at the top of the table with just six games to play.

“I think everyone, us included, has seen those declarations [by Laporta],” Ancelotti said. “I don’t have anything to say. It’s their opinion. As we say in Italy, the wind takes words away.”

With Madrid needing just seven points to secure their 36th La Liga title, Ancelotti denied that he is already thinking about lifting the trophy.

“Until the maths gives us the title, we have to compete and fight,” Ancelotti said. “The dynamic is very good, but that’s not enough.

“We have to make sure we have a good dynamic, also for the Champions League games, to compete and give our all to win, which is most important.”

The Madrid coach revealed that Bellingham has been suffering with “a stomach problem,” while Rodrygo is also unwell, although both have travelled with the squad.

Ancelotti also confirmed that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is in line to return against Cádiz next weekend in what would be the Belgium international’s first appearance since suffering an ACL injury in August 2023.