Athletic fought the game until the 119th minute and beat Xavi Hernandez's side

Good football leaves Barça out of the Cup and no excuses for refereeing

Xavi Hernández, entrenador del Fútbol Club Barcelona

Barça's season is going uphill. The 4-2 defeat to Athletic Bilbao at San Mames in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals leaves the team with La Liga and the Champions League as the only titles to lift this season. Xavi has gone from saying that if he doesn't win something he will leave at the end of the season, to refining the shot by assuring that if he doesn't win and doesn't compete then that's when he will leave. It is clear that everything surrounding Barcelona on and off the pitch is a constant controversy.   

Laporta joined the coach he never wanted to attack the refereeing collective and claim that the league is adulterated because his team doesn't win. The noise that covers Negreira's case is deafening until a team arrives with the desire to play football and fight for every ball to show that the problem is not the referees, it is an unbalanced squad and a coach with more excuses than ideas.

Lamal, Pedri, Balde, Guiu, Cubarsi and Fort are Barça's hope for the future, although they all have a price and Barça's debt is getting bigger every day. Xavi took the play of these youngsters as the most positive aspect of a match that Athletic won in every race and went so far as to say that they are the future, even though he is no longer Barça coach, something he repeated on several occasions. Despite turning the game around, the team was unable to avoid another drubbing (11 goals in four games) that leaves Xavi worse off than Koeman as the coach with the most defeats (25).   

Valverde's Athletic is a philosophy of play. The youth team is shining again when it seemed that Real Sociedad was hitting harder. The Williams' days are numbered at La Catedral. Nico will be an important player for Spain at the European Championship and Iñaki made the six thousand euros Athletic spent on a private flight between Madrid and Paris the best investment of the night with a goal in the 119th minute that puts the team in the semi-finals.   

The season will be a tough one for Barcelona. The squad have not trusted their coach for months after the manager's move in the Champions League against Antwerp by giving him a call-up. Lewandowski has become a former striker who has a nose for goal, but doesn't want to play football. Gündogan already suffers from a squad with much less hunger than his City team and in goal Iñaki Peña is no Ter Stegen and that is noticeable when the defence is a flank and the performance is so low. Rafa Marquez has been warming up for months because he is a friend of Laporta and Deco.   

The day they took away Barça's ability to complain about referees, Xavi had to resort to performance and youth to justify his game and the atmosphere at San Mames to excuse a painful defeat. The smokescreens are blown away by the wind just as quickly as the club will generate another new controversy so that people will talk about what Laporta wants instead of the ruin of a club he manages.