FC Barcelona manager Xavi has said Real Madrid are the favourites to emerge on top in the Copa del Rey semi final tie between the two sides.
Barcelona have been drawn against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final. Real Madrid hosts the first leg of the two-legged semi-final tie, and Xavi was speaking at a press conference ahead of the game.
Barcelona had defeated Real Madrid the last time the two times squared off. It came in the Spanish Super Cup final, where Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 3-1 to clinch the title.
But Xavi insists that Real Madrid are the favourites in the Copa del Rey tie as they are the defending La Liga and Champions League winners and are in good form.
Real Madrid are the favourites in the Copa del Rey semi-final tie, says Barcelona manager Xavi
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“Madrid are favourites because they are LaLiga and Champions League holders,” Xavi said [via ESPN] ahead of the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg. “They are a tough opponent and they are in good form.
“We have won a trophy, beating them in the final, playing extraordinary football, but it’s Madrid. They are competing really well — they scored five goals against Liverpool.
“I have to be honest. I don’t mind saying it. That said, we have the weapons to do damage, we have shown that, and it will be an even tie, but they are favourites.”
Real Madrid go into the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg against Barcelona on the back of their 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
Barcelona, meanwhile, head into the upcoming El Clasico on the back of two consecutive defeats. The first of those two defeats saw Manchester United knock Barcelona out of the Europa League. Manchester United secured a 2-1 win in that Europa League knockout play-off second leg to dump Barcelona out of the competition.
Barcelona then slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat to Almeria in La Liga. The defeat means Barcelona missed an opportunity to go 10 points clear of Real Madrid in the race for the La Liga title.
Despite the defeat to Almeria, Barcelona still sits atop the La Liga table with a seven-point lead over their fierce rivals Real Madrid, who sit second in the points table.
The first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final between Real Madrid and Barcelona kicks off at 1:30 am Indian Standard Time on March 3.