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Tensions won't flare with Mourinho: Spain
By Paul Logothetis
07:18 AEST Sun Jun 10 2012

Spain's Real Madrid and Barcelona players don't expect tension to flare when Jose Mourinho shows up to watch their first European Championship match on Sunday.

The Madrid coach will be at the PGE Arena in Gdansk for the world champions' game against Italy amid a feud between Mourinho and Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez.

A string of ill-tempered matches between the Spanish league rivals had created friction inside Spain's normally tranquil dressing room, as international teammates were seen brawling at the close of a particularly ugly Spanish Super Cup contest in August.

"If (Euro 2012) was held in 2011 it probably would have been a little more problematic for us," Spain captain and Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas said on Saturday.

"A year later and now we smile about it.

"At that time, it's true it was tense but that moment has passed. Both players from Barcelona and Real Madrid have behaved perfectly and turned the page on it."

Xavi recently said in an interview with Spain's Canal Plus TV that Barcelona's 5-0 victory over Madrid in November 2010 created tension in the team.

"There's nothing to it now," said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, who Xavi credited with helping defuse the situation.

"There is no rivalry in any sense. Luckily this has been left in the past."

Xavi also criticised Mourinho's tactics despite the pair having worked together at Barcelona when Mourinho was an assistant coach.

Mourinho replied to Xavi's remarks through Portuguese sports daily Record on Saturday, telling the Barcelona playmaker to focus on "playing football."

Mourinho also said in a statement on Madrid's website that it was his "duty" to be by the side of Madrid's international players at the tournament.

"I'm Portuguese and will therefore hope my national team wins, but I will always support all my players as well," said Mourinho, who attended Saturday's Group B match between Portugal and Germany.


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