Spain: How chaos unfolded as Barcelona players clashed with Espanyol ultras


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Barcelona’s La Liga title celebrations descended into chaos after Espanyol ultras stormed the pitch and attempted to confront the players.

Xavi’s side sealed a 27th league title with a comprehensive 4-2 win at their neighbourhood rivals, inspired by Robert Lewandowski’s brace and goals from Alejandro Balde and Jules Kounde.

It was Barcelona’s first La Liga title win since 2019, but their attempts to celebrate on the pitch soon turned nasty as they incurred the wrath of Espanyol’s frustrated ultras.

Barcelona‘s players went from dancing around the centre circle to fleeing down the tunnel, as riot police and stewards did their best to hold back an angry Espanyol mob who were wielding chairs and throwing other objects down from the stands.

Even after Barcelona’s players and staff had been escorted from the field, the rioting continued as fans made their feelings known to the board about their current plight in La Liga.

Defeat for Espanyol leaves them second-bottom in the table, four points adrift from safety with just four games of the season remaining.

Xavi’s reaction

Speaking to Spanish media, Xavi defended his players for celebrating in the way that they did but admitted that being away from Camp Nou meant they had likely incited trouble.

“I have told them to stop inside because I think it is enough,” the Spaniard said.

“The celebration is normal, but it was respectful to go to the dressing room because we were not at home. I am rational. But emotions are difficult to control. We celebrated it not because we were in Espanyol’s camp but for the title. We’re not at home.

“I haven’t seen if anything else has happened, I’ve gone inside. We shouldn’t give it more importance. We shouldn’t create controversy. I thought it was time to go in, to go and celebrate as a family. We haven’t provoked anyone. We were celebrating a title that is very important to us.”

Araujo & Busquets clash with ultras

Ronald Araujo and Sergio Busquets were two of a number of players confronted by Espanyol ultras, who somehow managed to gain access to the tunnel.

The Barcelona pair could be seen arguing before engaging in some pushing and shoving – unsavoury scenes after what has been a superb campaign for both players. Marcos Alonso, Ferran Torres and other team-mates soon rallied around Araujo and Busquets, who were visibly angry and frustrated by the abuse they were receiving.

Police and stewards eventually ushered the players away to safety.

Espanyol CEO apologises

“We want to apologise to the world of football for these events,” were the words of Mao Ye, Espanyol’s CEO, after things had calmed down.

“No matter how small it is, it does not represent our club. We are going to do everything possible to eradicate this type of event that cannot happen in our stadium.

“From the club we have always taken measures. We are even one of the strictest clubs with this type of prevention. We have to review what happened. I think we have to continue working and improve all kinds of deficiencies that may exist.”

La Liga also confirmed in a statement that they will analyse the images and footage available to them and work with Espanyol to prevent the individuals responsible from returning to the stadium in the future.

Espanyol’s supporters protest against the club’s board

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