Xavi apologises as Barca boss faces heavy criticism for Dani Alves arrest comments

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Barcelona head coach Xavi apologised on Sunday after facing a wave of criticism for his comments after the arrest of Dani Alves on sexual assault allegations.

Xavi, a former team-mate and coach of Alves, said in a press conference on Saturday he was “in a state of shock” after hearing the news.

Brazilian right-back Alves was arrested in Barcelona on Friday after it was alleged he assaulted a woman in a nightclub bathroom.

The 39-year-old, who has been refused bail, denied committing the offence when he spoke to Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 in early January.

Xavi also said on Saturday that “justice will dictate” the situation, but he faced flak, particularly on social media, for focusing on Alves, rather than expressing concern for the alleged victim.

He looked to clear that up following Barcelona’s 1-0 win against Getafe on Sunday, saying: “What I said was misinterpreted, or I was not as forceful as I should have been, but it is important that I explain myself.

“It is a difficult and delicate subject. Yesterday I ignored the victim, but I want to make it clear that any act of gender-based violence or rape must be condemned, whether Dani or anyone else does it.

“I feel bad that Dani could have done it, but on this issue you have to be very strong. Yesterday I was not very lucky with my words and I apologise. I know that my voice is very important, because I represent a club like Barca. I am truly sorry, it has not been a pleasant day for me.”

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