Xavi claimed the referees in LaLiga are favoring Real Madrid, making it near impossible for Barcelona to challenge Los Blancos in the title race. Real Madrid picked up a massively controversial three points at the weekend with a win over Almeria. Carlo Ancelotti’s side was the beneficiary of several calls to come back from a two-goal deficit.

The referees at the Santiago Bernabeu awarded a penalty to Real Madrid to start the comeback after a lengthy review. Referees wiped an Almeria goal off the board for a foul in the buildup that occurred in Almeria’s half. Real Madrid then pulled level with a controversial goal that came off Vinicius Junior. The referee initially flagged the play for a handball off the Brazilian. After a review, the officials gave Real Madrid the goal. The hosts went on to win the game in the ninth of the 11 minutes added on in the second half.

Gaizka Garitano, the manager of Almeria, was visibly upset and disgruntled with the calls made on Sunday.

“I’ve got no words to say what has happened,” Garitano said after the match.

Xavi, whose Barcelona won a dramatic game of its own on Sunday, voiced his frustrations with the standard of officiating in LaLiga. He said everyone saw what happened at the Santiago Bernabeu in that massively controversial result. The Spaniard also harkened back to an August game against Getafe that Barcelona drew after Raphinha picked up a red card.

Barcelona and Xavi well behind Real Madrid in LaLiga race

“Everyone has seen it, it is going to be very difficult to win this League, I said it in Getafe, there were things that did not fit me,” Xavi said. “Let’s continue working, we continue in the fight, there are 18 games left, today we start the second round in the best way possible, there are things that we do not control, everyone has seen it today.”

Barcelona’s win over Real Betis was a crucial one for its bid to remain competitive in the LaLiga title race. However, Real Madrid’s victory maintains a sizeable gap in the league table. Currently, Real Madrid is second behind Girona, but Carlo Ancelotti’s side has a game in hand. A win in that game puts Real Madrid two points ahead of Girona in the league.

Seven points back of Real Madrid is where Barcelona sits. Barcelona’s two losses this season came at home to the two clubs ahead of it. That makes the prospect of usurping either Girona or Real Madrid remarkably challenging. Of course, Xavi thinks the effect of the referees will make that task even more challenging. Some of the moments in this season have had a direct impact on where the Catalan side is in the table.

“There have been many incidents,” Xavi said. “I remember the Getafe penalty, the incident with Raphinha in Vallecas and the goal in Granada by Joao Felix. We could have six more points. These are not excuses, they are realities.”

Difficult second half of the season

Barcelona will not play Real Madrid or Girona until late in the season. As a result, Xavi will be rooting for clubs to pick points off of the Catalan side’s direct title rivals. Regardless, Barcelona is the only Spanish club still competing in the league, cup and Champions League, something Xavi says it is still a competitor for.