Guardiola hits back amid claims of 'racist' abuse
'The Antics Road Show' rolled into Catalonia yesterday, bringing more bile and posturing between Spain's greatest two clubs.
In the latest episode of an ugly soap-opera, Real released a video purporting to show Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets saying, "mono, mono" -- "monkey, monkey" -- to Madrid left-back Marcelo. And they followed up with an outspoken attack on Barcelona and UEFA.
"This (UEFA) is an organisation that has T-shirts saying 'Respect' and 'Fair Play', but there's going to be players on the pitch at the Camp Nou who don't respect this sort of thing,'' said Aitor Karanka, Jose Mourinho's assistant.
"There have been racist insults made while covering their mouths. We'd like those players not to be on the pitch.
"After what happened today, the match is in the background. But we are Real Madrid. We are an institution, a symbol. We have been around for 109 years and we will go out and fight.
"We say over and over there are double standards. Some months ago Real Madrid's players and coach were banned for something not in the regulations (the cleaning of the bookings of Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos against Ajax). Now players are not banned for things that are apparent."
Madrid's accusation drew a swift, dismissive response from Barcelona as Pep Guardiola leapt to the defence of Busquets. "I know these players, all of them,'' said the Barcelona coach. "They are an example of professionalism, of honesty. They love the values of the sport. They know we play for the rest of the world."
If the claims of racism against Busquets were proven, Guardiola promised "we would take action". He added: "We would be very upset. But if an opponent makes an allegation, UEFA has to decide.
"Real might think we are unsporting but I think exactly the opposite. Fourteen of the 20 players in the squad have grown up in this house and they all respect the values of the house.
"They have been educated and trained to play Champions League finals. We make mistakes, but we try to play the best possible football for the people."
Guardiola said that he "was getting sick of playing Madrid" because of all the noises off the pitch. The Barca coach attempted, briefly, to focus on the game.
"We will have 11 extraordinary players from Real Madrid and a coach who wants to knock us out,'' said Guardiola. "This is the reality. Everything else is theatre."
At least he should avoid bumping into Mourinho out front or back-stage. After being sent to the stands at the Bernabeu for mocking the decision to dismiss Pepe, Mourinho is banned from the dug-out and the dressing-room area. (© Daily Telegraph, London)