Barca, Real continue tit-for-tat attacks
The war of words ahead of the fourth and final installment of a bitterly fought series between Real Madrid and Barcelona continued on the eve of Tuesday night's Champions League semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp.
Real reported Barca for unsporting conduct during last week's first leg at the Bernabeu, in which defender Pepe and coach Jose Mourinho were dismissed for the hosts, and have also accused Barca midfielder of Sergio Busquets of racially abusing their full-back, Marcelo.
Meanwhile, Barca had earlier reported Madrid for controversial comments made by Mourinho alluding to favours from UEFA in big Champions League games and questioning the Catalan club's relationship with UEFA. Both complaints have been thrown out by European football's governing body and Barca coach Pep Guardiola said Madrid ought to learn from the unsavoury episode.
"They can present all the complaints they like, but UEFA are the ones who decide," he said. "They think we are unsporting, but I think completely the opposite. Here we teach our players manners from a young age."
Guardiola also levelled a jibe at Jose Mourinho, who is suspended after being sent off in the first leg and will watch the return from the stands.
"Mourinho was here [at Barcelona] for five years and he knows our values: to win, fight and earn respect by respecting your rival," he said.
"Tomorrow it all finishes," said Guardiola, whose side won the first leg 2-0 thanks to a Lionel Messi brace. "We are playing for a place in the final, not to beat Real Madrid."
"After everything that has happened, it's a great achievement to be four points away from winning the league and on the verge of getting to the final at Wembley," added Guardiola, who played in the Catalans' European Cup success at the same venue 19 years ago.
Mourinho chose not to attend the pre-match press conference, choosing instead to send coach Aitor Karanka, who invited his own controversy by complaining of Barcelona's escaping of UEFA charges.
"Tomorrow's match has been overshadowed by UEFA's resolution - it's on another plane now," said Karanka. "We have been punished but there are [Barca] players who didn't respect the principles of fair play or who made racist insults, covering their mouths, who will be on the pitch tomorrow."
Karanka insisted that Mourinho will still be in a position to influence proceedings.
"He will be in the stands, but he will be able to get his message across," Karanka said. "If we could win and dedicate the victory to him it would be something important. Real Madrid have 109 years of proud history and we will fight to the end."