Xabi Alonso urges Real Madrid to forget Barcelona defeat

Midfielder Xabi Alonso has urged his Real Madrid team-mates to move on after they were knocked out of the Champions League by arch rivals Barcelona.

The 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp last night, which confirmed a 3-1 semi-final defeat, brought to an end a series of four Clasico clashes which saw Madrid win the Copa del Rey, but miss out on a Champions League final and lose any realistic hope of the Primera Division crown.

Throughout Madrid have been upset by refereeing decisions, with defender Pepe's dismissal in the first leg and Gonzalo Higuain's disallowed goal last night, chalked off as Cristiano Ronaldo tumbled into Javier Mascherano in the build-up, chief among their grievances.

Manager Jose Mourinho was absent last night, choosing to remain in the team hotel as he served a touchline ban, but that did not stop a host of key Madrid figures sending barbs in the direction of the Catalans.

Cristiano Ronaldo, assistant coach Aitor Karanka and general manager Jorge Valdano were among those to suggest those decisions had killed off the visitors' chances.

But Alonso told www.realmadrid.com: "The tie is over and we must think about the future. We are not at all satisfied. We are visibly frustrated.

"We did our very best and played the match we wanted. We took the lead, but the goal was disallowed.

"Everything got a lot harder after Barcelona scored, but we played with pride, managed to equalise and continued to fight. Nothing negative can be said about this team."

Valdano, often at odds with Mourinho this season over the running of the club, could not hide his frustration at the decisions.

But he denied the club believed there was a conspiracy against them, something clearly hinted at by Mourinho.

"Both teams tried every which way to go through to the final," he said. "Barcelona came out on top and we congratulate them, but this tie was influenced by the officiating. We hope we are luckier in the future.

"The tie was very even until Madrid were left a man down. The play in the third minute of the second half (last night) tarnished the tie, just as is the case of those referee decisions that weren't harmful.

"Cristiano is knocked off balance by (Gerard) Pique, he falls, the referee rules play on and Cristiano unintentionally makes Mascherano fall.

"I have never seen a foul committed with a player's back; perhaps the goal would have changed the course of the match. It's a true fact.

"The mistake was made and it hurt us, but we are not suggesting any conspiracy theory.

"Real Madrid is accustomed to always fighting until the very end. We had faith in our chances and we played four matches; one that we won, two that we drew and one that we lost.

"The team is improving. It is a young squad with a lot of room for improvement."

Things could get worse for Madrid this weekend. If they fail to win at Sevilla and Barcelona beat Espanyol, the Catalans will seal the Primera Division title.

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