October 3, 2023

Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to face each other in the Copa del Rey semi-final, with the first leg taking place on Thursday at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Barcelona’s coach Xavi believes that although his team is in a strong position, Madrid are the favourites to reach the final due to their status as reigning Spanish and European champions.

However, Xavi also thinks that Barcelona can hurt Madrid and expects a very even tie overall.

“Madrid will continue to be the favourites because they are champions of LaLiga and the Champions League,” he said at Wednesday’s pre-match press conference.

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“That is regardless of what happened in the Super Cup, where we did well, or any other factors.

“We may have beaten them in the Super Cup, but this is Madrid. I have to be honest. But I also think we can hurt them and I expect a very even tie overall.”

Barcelona have won two out of their four meetings with Madrid since Xavi took charge, including a 4-0 league win last season and a 3-1 Supercopa de Espana final victory in January. Barcelona are also seven points better off at the top of the league.

Despite back-to-back losses to Manchester United in the Europa League and Almeria in LaLiga, Xavi is happy with the position his team is in.

He believes that the Copa del Rey provides Barcelona with another chance to react and that they are in an ideal, privileged situation to win two more trophies. Barcelona is currently in the Copa del Rey semi-final and leading the league.

Barcelona will be without Robert Lewandowski for the first leg, while Pedri and Ousmane Dembele remain sidelined.

However, Ansu Fati has returned from injury and is part of the squad. Xavi says that Fati is training with the group and feels good, and he sees a happy and motivated player who is important for the team.

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