Former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi has hit out at Real Madrid for failing to give departing captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas the send-off he deserved before his switch to Porto.
A tearful Casillas appeared alone in the Bernabeu stadium press room on Sunday and the 34-year-old choked up several times as he read a farewell statement that brought to an end 16 seasons in the Real first team.
A wave of criticism followed, with Casillas’s parents also saying in a newspaper interview their son had been forced out of the club by President Florentino Perez.
Real responded by organising an official presentation with Perez and Casillas at the Bernabeu on Monday, when hundreds of fans who turned up in sweltering heat chanted for the president to quit and gave Casillas a rousing ovation.
The contrast between Sunday`s surreal appearance and the send-off Barca gave his close friend Xavi was telling.
A product of Barca`s academy, Xavi, 35, joined Qatari side Al Sadd at the end of last season and fans, officials and team mates paid homage to him at a packed Nou Camp stadium where the midfielder was surrounded by family and friends.
Xavi wrote in Spanish daily La Vanguardia on Tuesday that Casillas had not changed since they first met at the Under-17 World Cup in Egypt in 1997 and that he remained “a good person”.
“That’s why it leaves a bad taste what is happening with him now,” Xavi wrote.