Cazorla says Madrid-Barca spats could hurt Spain

Cazorla says Madrid-Barca spats could hurt Spain

Published Aug. 21, 2011 5:50 p.m. ET

Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla says he's worried that the growing friction between Real Madrid and Barcelona will have a negative impact on the national team.

Cazorla told Spanish newspaper La Nueva Espana on Sunday that the situation for the world champions has reached its ''limit.''

Malaga's new playmaker said that while the atmosphere on the team is still good, ''if these problems continue they could eventually hurt the group.''

A bench-clearing brawl in Barcelona's 3-2 victory over Madrid in the Spanish Supercup earlier this week was the latest flare-up between the two squads that provide the bulk of Spain's team.


Madrid coach Jose Mourinho was again at the center of the growing storm between the archrivals.

The Portuguese coach poked a finger in the eye of Barcelona assistant Tito Vilanova after a wild tackle by Madrid defender Marcelo on Barcelona newcomer Cesc Fabregas sparked a scuffle between the two sides at Camp Nou stadium on Wednesday.

After the match, Madrid and Spain captain Iker Casillas accused Spain teammate Fabregas of exaggerating the tackle that earned Marcelo a direct red card.

''He dived, like always,'' Casillas said.

Barcelona's David Villa was sent off during the bench-clearing melee while Casillas was seen arguing with Xavi Hernandez.

Last season, five ''clasicos'' were also mired by scuffles and arguments.

The first game- a 5-0 win for Barcelona- ended with Madrid defender Sergio Ramos pushing fellow world and European champions Carles Puyol and Xavi after he was sent off for a late red-card tackle on Lionel Messi.

The two European powerhouses then played four matches in 18 days in April which were characterized by fights, diving and accusations of feigned injuries. That eventually led to Mourinho being banned for five matches for alleging that referees and UEFA favored Barcelona.

Cazorla helped Spain win the European championship in 2008. He is now back on the squad after injury kept him off the 2010 world championship team.

Spain plays Liechtenstein on Sept. 6 in a qualifier for the 2012 European Championship. Coach Vicente del Bosque's team is top in Group I, six points ahead of second-place Czech Republic.