Xavi talks Messi’s possible return, Benzema, Busquets, and La Liga ahead of El Clasico

The manager spoke to the press on Saturday

Xavi’s press conference ahead of El Clasico

Before the match against arch-rivals Real Madrid, Xavi Hernandez addressed the press and previewed the game. He also spoke about Benzema’s injury, Barca’s playing style, starting line-up, the role of Busquets, and the possible return of Leo Messi.

Here are the best bits from Xavi’s pre-match media briefing:

Xavi on the favourite team to win

“If there’s a favorite, it’s Real Madrid. They are the leader of La Liga, but we are very excited. We have to show personality.”

Xavi on playing style

“We don’t know what awaits us, you can never predict how they’ll play. But we do know our plan, which is to have the ball. In the Super Cup Clasico, we were very good, but now we are more solid, we attack space well, and we understand the positional play better. We have improved but we have to show it on the pitch.”

Xavi on Benzema

“Benzema? He’s one of the best strikers in Europe, he’s been like this for two or three years. It’s a big loss for them, but for us, it doesn’t change the approach.”

Xavi on Busquets

“Busquets? Of course, I appreciate that Busquets is not going with the national team, but he deserves it. With the extraordinarily good performances, he has shown.”

Xavi on Pique

“Piqué? He’s fine, he has minor discomfort that hurts him as the minutes go by, but tomorrow he’ll be available to compete.”

Xavi on Messi’s possible return to Barca

“Messi is the best player in history and the doors will always be open here. He deserves a big tribute, and I can’t say much more because he has a contract with PSG.”

Xavi on winning La Liga

“Our options for La Liga are difficult, even if we win tomorrow it would be complicated. They have only lost two games since we arrived here.”

Xavi on Ronald Araujo

“Araujo as right-back? Anything is possible. It all depends on the preparation of the players. I know I’m being unfair to some players by not including them, but there are a lot of options and I have to make a decision.”

Xavi on the chance of beating a big team

“Well we beat Villarreal, are they not a big team? Tell me? What about Naples? And Atletico Madrid? Are they not big teams?”

That concludes Xavi’s press conference.

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