i said Spanish and European champions Real Madrid do not want to play beautiful football like their bitter rivals Barcelona.
Madrid swept LaLiga and Champions League honours last season but Zinedine Zidane's men have struggled this term, already 16 points behind runaway leaders Barca and Lionel Messi in the league.
Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes Madrid lack the culture of beautiful football at the Santiago Bernabeu, highlighting Jose Mourinho's time in charge from 2010-13.
"Barcelona is the final exam for a player," Xavi – who now plays for Al Sadd in Qatar – told El Pais. "It is the most difficult club and the most demanding in the world. Madrid do not play so beautifully. At the Bernabeu, if a defender hoofs the ball into the stand it is fine. That is the culture. The fans applaud.
"At the Camp Nou you knock the ball into the stand and the grumbles are so loud it is negative. Since [Johan] Cruyff's time."
Xavi added: "Mourinho's Madrid hit the ball direct over the top. Mourinho told his players never to stop the ball, to play quickly and then [Angel] Di Maria, Cristiano [Ronaldo] or [Karim] Benzema would break. Now they do it with [Gareth] Bale. They don't want to play football."
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 10, 2018
"Madrid break apart, seven players attack and Casemiro stays back on his own to cover the centre," the 37-year-old continued. "[Barca midfielder Sergio] Busquets cannot do that as even I am faster than he is. Casemiro is super fast, but he has trouble with everything else as he has not worked on it.
"He has other characteristics, is more defensive, makes more tackles, covers more ground, but he does not dominate space-time. If you had started with Casemiro aged 12, 13, 15, then he would have that."
Xavi was also critical of the individual aspect of some of Madrid's players after being asked about Isco and Marco Asensio.
"These youngsters need to know what [former Spain coach] Luis Aragones told me," he said. "Do you want to play pretty football or good football? I don't want to name names, but in La Liga many players have impressed and then disappeared without trace. They do tricks, but for what? Messi does not do tricks, never. Messi goes for the kill. Messi is good football, and so good at the same time that it becomes pretty."
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 9, 2018
Messi has upstaged Cristiano Ronaldo this season, at least in LaLiga, scoring a league-best 16 goals, while his Madrid foe has only managed four.
"Tactically he [Messi] understands everything," Xavi said. "It is embarrassing that he is compared with anybody else. Messi is aware of everything -- space, time, where his teammates are, and the opponents."
On Ronaldo – who has played more centrally in recent years – Xavi added: "Cristiano cannot play in the centre. It does not suit him."
|Worry about your own team - Dortmund slam Wenger´s Aubameyang pursuit|
|Praet denies agreeing deal to join Juventus|
|No BBC for Real Madrid´s Leganes clash|
|Stoke close to Stafylidis signing|
|Brisbane Roar 3 Perth Glory 2: Holman settles five-goal thriller|
|Gourvennec leaves Bordeaux after seventh defeat in eight games|
|Pique agrees new long-term Barcelona contract|
|Wenger rules out Ozil sale as talks continue over Wilshere deal|
|Sanchez-Mkhitaryan deal close, says Wenger|
|Meunier blasts ´disgraceful´ PSG fans after Neymar boos|
|Pique demands better at Camp Nou after Espanyol ´insults´|
|Schweinsteiger re-signs with Chicago Fire for 2018|
|Juve trying everything to sign Can, says Marotta|
|Rooney convinced me to join Everton – Walcott|
|Simeone: Sevilla deserved their win|
|Conte calls for VAR improvements|
|Neymar not angered by PSG whistles - Silva|
|FA Cup Review: Wigan dump Bournemouth out, nine-man Chelsea scrape through|
|Valverde rues Barca profligacy in Espanyol defeat|
|Chelsea 1 Norwich City 1 (aet, 5-3 pens): Hazard and Caballero seal Blues progression|
|No generosity from Neymar as Cavani waits to make PSG history|
|Neymar sets Ligue 1 landmark with staggering individual display|
|Espanyol 1 Barcelona 0: Melendo ends unbeaten run|
|Paris Saint-Germain 8 Dijon 0: Neymar hits four as Cavani levels Ibrahimovic record|
|Atletico fan in ´serious condition´ after being stabbed before Sevilla game|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Sevilla 2: Montella´s men stage dramatic first-leg comeback|
|Lukaku will score 30 goals for Man Utd this season, predicts Yorke|
|Liverpool loan Grujic to Cardiff|
|Mbappe: More to come from Neymar & Cavani partnership|
|Messi the greatest ever despite no World Cup win, insists Di Maria|
|Villa determined to earn place in Spain´s World Cup squad|
|Walcott swaps Arsenal for Everton|
|You even learn from Guardiola at home - Otamendi lauds Pep impact|
|Otamendi pens Man City deal to 2022|
|Neymar leads tributes to retiring Ronaldinho|
|Ronaldo must focus on playing - Zidane sidesteps exit talk|
|Zidane still an idol for James despite ´sad´ Madrid exit|
|Stoger will stay at Dortmund if ´everything fits´|
|Bordeaux´s Malcom facing disciplinary action over social media video|
|Ronaldinho retires – The greatest Brazilians to play for Barcelona|
|Athletic reward Williams with contract until 2025|
|Jones taking unlikely inspiration from City in United´s title pursuit|
|Moyes unaware of Chelsea interest in Carroll|
|Verdi wants Bologna stay amid Napoli links|
|Ronaldinho retires – A shining light of Brazil´s 2002 World Cup-winning team|
|Ronaldinho retires – a World Cup and Ballon d´Or among Brazil great´s prizes|
|World Cup glory and Bernabeu magic - Ronaldinho´s best moments for Barca and Brazil|
|Ligue 1 Review: Balotelli at the double as Payet shines and Malcom toils|
|Pato still dreaming of World Cup selection|
|FA Cup Review: Iheanacho makes VAR history, kit confusion reigns|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: PSG, Man City drive record-breaking spending|
|Conte packing in homework as Chelsea games stack up|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: Manchester United record highest revenue but largest debt|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: The headlines in transfers, wages and revenues|
|Iheanacho scores English football´s first VAR goal|
|Materazzi not surprised by Coutinho transfer fee|
|Ronaldinho retires - Brazil and Barca great plans 2018 farewell|
|Koziello swaps Nice for Cologne|
|Simeone ready to unleash Costa and Vitolo alongside Griezmann|
|Lambert ´never thought´ he would return to Premier League|
|Wenger ´very aggressive´ towards referee Dean, says FA report|
|Reported Arsenal target Malcom starts for Bordeaux vs Caen|
|Valverde not making big deal of Dembele´s latest Barca blow|
|Arsenal will have a ´hard time´ signing Malcom|
|Ronaldo and Madrid nominated for Laureus awards|
|Nantes´ Diego Carlos brands Chapron clash ´historic´|
|This is not important - Conte unconcerned if substitutions upset Hazard|
|Conte ´doesn´t think´ Chelsea have pursued Sanchez|
|Emery hints at Neymar return against Dijon|
|Mkhitaryan key to United-Sanchez deal, claims Raiola|
|Tevez: CSL spell was a holiday|
|Mignolet considering Liverpool future|
|Fred waiting for Guardiola call amid Man City speculation|
|Inter confident but patient over Rafinha|
|Giggs had counselling after Old Trafford exit|
|Neville: Mourinho would happily swap Mkhitaryan for Sanchez|
|Man United becoming Pogba´s team – Mourinho|
|Can ´talking with everyone´ but hints at Liverpool stay|