The ongoing feud involving Champions League semi-finalists Barcelona and Real Madrid has taken a new twist with José Mourinho’s assistant coach, Aitor Karanka, criticising UEFA for overlooking racist abuse allegedly directed at the Real Madrid full-back Marcelo by Sergio Busquets.
Karanka claimed that tomorrow’s semi-final second leg was of only “secondary importance” following UEFA’s failure to act.
“There will be a player on the pitch who racially abused another player,” the Madrid assistant coach said, “while others who have done nothing wrong won’t be there.”
Karanka’s comments come in the light of a video released by Real Madrid on Monday that they claim shows Busquets calling the Madrid full-back Marcelo a “monkey”.
They also came hours after UEFA announced that it had rejected the complaint made by Real Madrid against eight Barcelona players for “persistent and premeditated unsporting behaviour”. UEFA also agreed not to act on the complaints made by Barcelona against Mourinho.
The Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, insisted Busquets had merely made a “mistake” and that it would be up to UEFA to decide if he should be punished.
“I know these players. They are an example of professionalism,” said the Barcelona coach. “They love this sport. Some of them, during the game, can make a mistake but as players they are exemplary both for Spain and for Barcelona.”
Asked if he would punish Busquets he said: “We are not proud when they make mistakes but I know these players. If we do something wrong, then UEFA have to decide. It won’t happen again.”
UEFA’s statement made no specific mention of the alleged racist abuse but Madrid’s assistant coach brought the issue up after footage of the alleged abuse was shown on Real’s official website.
“After today’s resolution the game itself drops to a secondary issue,” Karanka said. “[Uefa is] an organisation which talks about principles like respect and fair play and yet nothing has happened.
“We have seen the images which have been round the world, including a player making racist insults and covering his mouth to try to make it so that you can’t see it. But he will be on the pitch, along with others. Other players who have done nothing wrong won’t be. That is the most important thing today. The football is not.”
Karanka also reiterated Mourinho’s criticism of UEFA following the first leg, in which he accused the governing body of favouring Barcelona.
“A few months ago we were sanctioned for something that is not in the Uefa rule book. Now they are not sanctioning things that are in the rule book,” Karanka said with reference to Real players being sanctioned for deliberately seeking out yellow cards as a means of serving a suspension in a relatively meaningful fixture.
“It’s not a case of feeling unprotected but once again there seems to be different measures [for different teams]. Our position is the one that we made clear in our complaint to UEFA.
“What Mourinho said [after the first leg] was what anyone who had been in the stadium or watching the game on television would have said. This isn’t an accusation against UEFA. I’m saying what’s in the regulations and what isn’t. These are provable and objective things.”