FC Barcelona, widely regarded as the world’s top soccer club after winning both the Champions League and the Spanish La Liga title last season, were booted off the national mall near the White House on Thursday when they tried to hold an impromptu practice there.
According to the team’s star midfielder Xavi, security was not a fan of the team using that location, not far from the home of President Obama.
“Security said you couldn’t have a group of more than 10 or 15 there,” Xavi said, according to the Washington Post. “We wanted to loosen up a little, stretch… Given that the White House was near so it was normal security, nothing more.”
The incident in Washington was such big news in Spain that it appeared on the front page of the Madrid sports daily paper, As. In the Spanish capital, where Real Madrid reigns supreme, the sports dailies are always eager to highlight the misfortune of bitter rivals Barcelona.
“Barcelona Kicked Out of the White House,” blared the headline of As this morning.
“The Secret Service expelled the team while they practiced in a park behind the Obama residence,” the paper said.
Barcelona is in Washington for a friendly on Saturday against Manchester United, the team they defeated in the Champions League final last May.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio