Former FC Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez weighed in on the Spanish National Football Team's victory against Switzerland, which takes them through to the semi-finals of the ongoing European Championship. He shared his opinion on the criticism that national team manager Luis Enrique has been facing due to the fact that he did not select even a single Real Madrid player for La Furia Roja.
Xavi admitted that it is not surprising that there will be outrage from the Spanish public if the national team coach leaves out players from Real Madrid, which along with Barcelona, has dominated the selection in the past.
"It seems to me that what is happening is normal because the environment of Spain is very critical and there is little connection between the press and the team. Therefore it's more difficult to win trophies with Spain, but we did it," he said, recalling his own successful spell playing with La Roja alongside players from Real Madrid. It may be remembered that Xavi was part of the highly successful Spain side that won two European Championships and a FIFA World Cup title between 2008-2012.
"It is even more difficult if the coach does not bring players from Real Madrid. Those criticisms are going to come and you have to know how to accept them," he added, as quoted by Marca.
Luis Enrique has certainly taken the criticism and has done his talking on the pitch. Despite scraping through unconvincingly past the Group Stage of Euro 2020, Spain is now in the semi-finals. They defeated Switzerland on Friday after the match ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Extra time did not yield any more goals and the victory was claimed by the Spaniards after a dramatic penalty shootout that ended (3-1).
Spanish keeper Unai Simon was the hero of the evening, after saving two of Switzerland's goals. However, Spain is still lacking firepower up front, and it remains to be seen how they will be able to find a solution for the rest of the tournament.
Spain will face Italy in the semi-finals at Wembley on Tuesday, with the Azzurri also fired up after beating Belgium 2-1.