Xavi: Real Madrid favourites to win Copa del Rey tie with Barcelona


Barcelona are seven points better off than Real Madrid in LaLiga, but Xavi believes Los Blancos are favourites to win their cup tie.

Xavi says Barcelona enter their Copa del Rey semi-final with Real Madrid in a strong position, but considers Carlo Ancelotti’s side the favourites to reach the final.

The fierce rivals meet at the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday in the first of three Clasicos in a month, with the LaLiga decider sandwiched between their two-legged cup ties.

Barca have won two 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.

The Catalan giants are also seven points clear at the top of the league, but Xavi believes Madrid’s status as reigning Spanish and European champions makes them favourites.

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

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

“Maybe we beat 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 draw overall.”

Barcelona enjoyed an impressive first full season under Xavi, but back-to-back losses halted their momentum.

Despite Manchester United being knocked out of the Europa League and dropping three points against Almeria, Xavi is happy with the position his side are in.

“The loss against Almeria upset me a lot, but we start again with a clean slate,” Xavi said. “It’s a competition we’re doing well in and we’re three games away from another title.

“This will give us another chance to respond. We know we have to be more of a team than ever, with the little details making the difference.”

“The message to the fans is that we remain in an ideal, privileged situation to win two more trophies. We are in the semi-finals of the Copa and we are leaders in the league.

“We know things can go wrong, but we’re here to try to prevent it.”

Barcelona are missing Robert Lewandowski for the first leg, while Pedri and Ousmane Dembele remain sidelined, but Ansu Fati has returned from injury and is part of the squad.

“He had a bruised knee but he is training with the group and he feels good,” Xavi said. “I see a happy and motivated player who is important to the team.”