Tactical Insights

Ancelotti’s anger with Barcelona: LaLiga is not adulterated

Carlo Ancelotti has never bitten his tongue as Real Madrid coach. And after Laporta’s words after the Real Madrid-Almeria controversy denouncing that La Liga was adulterated, the Real Madrid coach has finally hit back.

The Los Blancos boss had been respectful all this time in the face of repeated questions in the press about the Negreira case but the Barcelona president’s comments have finally overstepped the mark as far as the great Italian is concerned.

“I don’t like to get into these controversies,” Ancelotti said to media. “The truth is that this week they have talked a lot.

“I think the same thing, we shouldn’t divert the shot. Everyone knows what has happened in Spanish soccer and there lies the problem.

“The league is not adulterated, the Guardia Civil and the Prosecutor’s Office are investigating and that has been the problem of Spanish soccer for the last 20 years. We must not divert things.”

Ancelotti made a reference to the Caso Negreira scandal that found that Barcelona paid $8m plus to the former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees, giving life to conspiracies of them buying off officials, although the club denies wrongdoing.

The 64-year-old essentially warned Laporta that those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and pointed out the irony of the Barcelona president claiming the league is rigged in someone’s favor.

What did Laporta say?

The 61-year-old criticised the standard of officiating in Spain’s top league and suggested that the introduction of VAR is diminishing the competition.

More specifically, he was alluding to a suggestion that referees favor Real Madrid and his comments came after a controversial 3-2 over Almeria that saw them displace Girona at the summit of the table.

“We are seeing,” Laporta said to media. “Is that an instrument that was there to help [the referees], the VAR, is not helping them and has been taken hostage.

“Like an abuse victim, based on pressure that our rival is exerting continuously and constantly, which is no longer punctual but consistent. These pressures have been taking place for a long time and are bearing fruit. Because the decisions are all favourable to this team.”

Ancelotti reminds his players to be strong

In recent weeks, Real Madrid’s defense has waned and saw them leak goals including two against Almeria, seven against Atletico Madrid (in two matches), and even a goal against Arandina, a side several leagues below them.

It contrasts their form through November and December that saw them keep five cleansheets and only concede more than once in just three games and Ancelotti reminded them of the standards they should be at ahead of their January 27 game against Las Palmas.

“November and December we have been solid,” Ancelotti added to media. “This hasn’t been the case in the last few games, we have scored many goals but we have conceded a lot.

“[Federico] Valverde in that position was an emergency. We have to return to the solidity of before by being more forceful at the back. We want to give our best, it could be a tough game, they play well, defend well and it will be demanding.

“We are motivated to get back to playing at our best. This week has been good for us, everyone is available except for the long term injuries.”

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