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The New Arab

Spanish press take Xavi's Ronaldo-Messi comparison out of context

Some news outlets misquoted the Spanish football legend [The New Arab]

Date of publication: 15 April, 2016

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A statement by The New Arab on our exclusive interview with football legend Xavi Hernandez.

Many international news outlets have reported on The New Arab's exclusive interview with FC Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez, who currently plays for Qatari club al-Sadd.

However, a few Spanish papers, especially those sympathetic to Real Madrid FC, have taken Xavi's comments out of context and skewed some of the words he used, changing their meanings.

A number of news outlets on Thursday published comments by Xavi, in which he clarified what he meant when he compared Argentine FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi with Real Madrid hero Cristiano Ronaldo.

Xavi asserted that he did not intend to indirectly offend Ronaldo by comparing the two stars, and said: "I did not say that Ronaldo isn't very smart."

"There are two kinds of speed in football: the physical one and the one that determines how fast you can combine with a teammate. That's why I said that Lionel Messi is a better player, because he has those two speeds. But I never said that Cristiano Ronaldo isn't smart, not at all."

In his interview with The New Arab, Xavi said: "Ronaldo is a goalscorer, and Messi is also a goalscorer; however, Messi is a much better team player than Ronaldo. I think Messi is the best footballer in the world."

The star - who played an integral role in the Spanish national team's 2010 World Cup win, in addition to its Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 victories - added: "In football, there are two important elements: fitness and intelligence. Ronaldo is very fit but Messi has both the fitness as well as the intelligence, so, simply put, he is better."

Xavi's comments were reported verbatim by Spanish newspapers, including the well-known Marca.

In the interview with The New Arab, Xavi speaks about Messi having better mental abilities - but does not deny Ronaldo such abilities, and nowhere in the interview does he say Ronaldo was "not smart" - as reported by some newspapers that translated the interview into Spanish.

The New Arab stresses that it is not responsible for the actions of some news outlets that have distorted the interview, taken it out of context, or have used provocative headlines that have no relation to the content of the answers, whether that is to do with the comparison between Messi and Ronaldo or the Egyptian football star Mohammad Salah.

Xavi is fully aware that we published his interview in all honesty and strived to convey his opinions to his fans around the world as he had stated them both on our English and Arabic sites.

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