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Aug 17, 2011

Fabregas plays down ugly challenge

Barcelona's most recent recruit, Cesc Fabregas, believes controversy and heated exchanges are a "normal" part of the intense rivalry the Catalan club shares with Real Madrid.

• Second leg Gallery Photo Gallery
• First leg: Madrid 2-2 Barca
• Barca blog: Benvingut, Cesc

Fabregas completed his long awaited move to the Camp Nou this Monday, and has already won his first piece of silverware with the club after a Lionel Messi volley in the 88th-minute helped Barca seal a 3-2 win in second leg of the Spanish Supercopa.

However, the match was marred by an ugly incident late on involving the former Arsenal skipper after Madrid's left-back Marcelo dived in dangerously on Fabregas. The Brazilian, along with team-mate Mesut Ozil, was subsequently sent from the pitch once the melee subsided, but Fabregas says it's all part of the derby experience.

"This is very competitive football, we are talking about the two best clubs in the world and every team wants to win. This is normal in football that a situation like this can happen," Fabregas said.

"It's always good to start well, with positive situations like this. I am very happy. They had just scored when I went into the pitch and I was just thinking in helping my team."

Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas also played down the injury-time incident, suggesting Fabregas made the most of the situation.

"In a match like this, there are many interests and of course a conflict can arise," said Casillas. "Marcelo committed a foul and they threw themselves to the ground, like always."

Later images revealed the sideline scuffle also involved Madrid manager Jose Mourinho and Barcelona's assistant coach Tito Vilanova. It appears that Mourinho lunges for Vilanova's head, evidently making contact with his eye, whilst the Barca man retaliated with a slap to the back of Mourinho's head.

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