Barcelona defender Dani Alves has lashed out at the press on social media in the wake of his side’s ill-tempered clashes with rivals Espanyol over the past week.
The Brazilian has never been one to mince his words, and as reported by Reuters (h/t the Guardian), he made his feelings known on the recent coverage of the Blaugrana in a post on Instagram:
Truly each day I feel more embarrassed to be a part of this sport, the way we are used and the way they play with us.
We are objects used by the press for their benefit, so they sell newspapers. Less and less they talk about football, strategy, play, the runs to score goals, the saves and the spectacle.
As reported in the aforementioned piece, Barcelona have issued a statement of their own, in which they support their player's right to free speech but do not echo Alves’ viewpoint.
Barcelona have played Catalan rivals Espanyol twice in the past week in very fiery affairs—the sides drew one game 0-0, and the Camp Nou outfit won the other 4-1.
While Alves did not mention a specific incident in his post, there’s an accompanying image of him during the game against Espanyol. In what should be a very intriguing fixture, the two will meet again next Wednesday in the second leg of their Copa del Rey tie at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat.
Barcelona’s star striker, Luis Suarez, will not be involved in that match, as he was banned for two games after it was claimed he had incited opposition players in the tunnel after his team’s 4-1 win, per Sky Sports. It’s a suspension the Blaugrana claim they will appeal immediately.
As we can see here, courtesy of WhoScored.com, Suarez has been a hugely important player for the Camp Nou outfit:
Luis Suárez: Has scored the most goals (15) in La Liga this season; Cristiano Ronaldo & Neymar joint second (14 each)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 8, 2016
According to Sport, “threats, insults and finally punches were thrown” after Wednesday’s showdown. The piece suggested Barcelona players were unhappy with the conduct of Espanyol goalkeeper Pau Lopez during the game, as he appeared to leave a foot in on Lionel Messi.
Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez certainly feels as though the Los Pericos stopper should have picked up a suspension, too:
Pau, who attempted to break Messi's leg, gets no ban. Diop fairly gets a match ban. Suárez gets a 2 match ban for saying "you're a waste".— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) January 8, 2016
This post from Alves suggests there’s going to be little chance of the two teams letting things lie when they meet again. Indeed, Barcelona star Gerard Pique decided to stir the pot in the aftermath of the second match, stating the Espanyol fans “call themselves the 'marvellous minority', and they're in such a minority that they can't even fill their ground,” per Marca.
When such bitter rivals do square off so many times in such quick succession, tempers are always likely to fray. So while the second leg of the Copa del Rey means little in a footballing sense, with Barca surely through after their excellent 4-1 win in the first game, fireworks are guaranteed at the Cornella when these two take to the field for the third time in 11 days.