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Xavi: 'Cristiano is wrong' about referee

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Carlo Ancelotti: Ronaldo and Ramos did not disrespect the ref
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Carlo Ancelotti: Ronaldo and Ramos did not disrespect the ref

Xavi says Cristiano Ronaldo was wrong to criticize the referee in Barcelona's 4-3 win over Real Madrid in Sunday's Clasico.

Real Madrid was up 3-2 at the Bernabeu when it saw Sergio Ramos dismissed for a challenge on Neymar, with Lionel Messi converting two subsequent penalties to complete his hat trick and secure all three points for Barca.

The result leaves Atletico Madrid on top of La Liga by virtue of its superior head-to-head record against Real — with the capital-based clubs just one point clear of Barca — and prompted Blancos star Ronaldo to say Real was playing "against 12".

However, Xavi has defended referee Undiano Mallenco and claimed that the official seemed to make the right call with all three spot kick decisions.

"Cristiano is wrong and his criticism is harsh," the 34-year-old said. "As far as I’m concerned, they were all penalties, including the one from Dani Alves on Cristiano, from what I could see on the pitch."

Despite champion Barca hauling itself back into the title race, Xavi does not consider there to be any outright favorite to lift the trophy with nine games to go.

"Atletico are the leaders and they’re a warrior-like team, they're battlers,” he added. "There are no favorites from now on though — there are three teams who can win the title."

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