Barcelona and Real Madrid row escalates
MADRID (Reuters) -- A row between Barcelona and Real Madrid which erupted after Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg escalated on Thursday when the pair filed complaints with UEFA.
Barcelona, who won 2-0 in an ill-tempered match at the Bernabeu, struck first when they announced they would formally denounce comments Real coach Jose Mourinho made belittling Pep Guardiola's past achievements.
Real responded by saying they would file their own complaint with European soccer governing body about what they called repeated diving by some of the Barca players.
For their part, UEFA announced disciplinary probes into the Mourinho sending-off and subsequent outburst at his post-match news conference.
Real midfielder Pepe and Barca reserve goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto will also face hearings after being shown red cards, while nine-times European champions Real will have to explain incidents of missile-throwing and a pitch invasion.
"We want to stand firm when the war of words passes certain limits and we believe Mr Mourinho crossed this line yesterday," Barca spokesman Toni Freixa told reporters after an extraordinary club board meeting.
"We are going to present a case to UEFA's Control and Disciplinary committee against Mr Mourinho for breaking UEFA's disciplinary code.
"It's unacceptable that anyone can question our titles or our link with UNICEF.
"It isn't our intention to fans the flames but to put them out, because we believe coaches should only talk about footballing matters and not things which could incite violence."
In a statement on their website (www.realmadrid.com) later on Thursday, Real said they had no choice but to respond with a representation of their own to UEFA and expressed their backing for Mourinho.
Barca had shown "non-sporting conduct" and their players had "persistently simulated aggression against them with the sole aim of provoking errors from the referee", the statement said, adding that Pepe's dismissal had been unfair.
The club said they were surprised disciplinary proceedings had been opened against Mourinho, who had only expressed his opposition to winning at all costs and his support for the principles of "loyalty, integrity and sporting spirit".
Barca's World Player of the Year Lionel Messi scored two superb goals after Pepe was sent off for a studs-up lunge at Barcelona's Daniel Alves in the 62nd minute. Mourinho was ordered from the bench for his protests over the incident.
After the match, Mourinho told reporters: "Josep Guardiola is a fantastic football coach, but he has won one Champions League which would embarrass me after the scandalous goings on at Stamford Bridge."
The Portugese was referring to the 2009 semi-final second leg in London when Barca snatched a 1-1 draw to qualify for the final. He said Chelsea should have had four penalties that were not given.
"This year if he wins it again it will be after the scandalous goings on at the Bernabeu," he added.
"I don't know if it's the UNICEF publicity or the friendship of Villar at UEFA, where he is vice-president, I don't know if it's because they are so nice, but they have got great power. The rest of us have no chance."
Barca backed the re-election of Angel Maria Villar to the presidency of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF), while Real supported a rival candidate.
Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu warned on Tuesday that the club were not going to stand for any more attempts to smear their record by Real or local media, backing Guardiola's surprising outburst from earlier in the day.
"All year there have been insinuations, lies, information which wasn't true about referees, the calendar and recently doping. It's enough," he told Spanish radio.
"When our footballers were linked to doping a few weeks ago we took out a lawsuit against the radio station. Today Guardiola also said 'enough'. We have to get away from these extra-sporting issues and back to the competition and playing."
Mourinho has already been in trouble with UEFA this season, serving a one-match ban over allegations that two of his Real Madrid players engineered deliberate red cards in a group game with Ajax Amsterdam.
At the time, Mourinho brushed aside UEFA's punishment, describing it as "a medal".
Real and Barca were widely criticised for their behaviour in Wednesday's match which featured constant niggling, play-acting and harassment of the referee by both sides.
UEFA said the hearings would take place on May 6.