Xavi believes Barcelona is well-positioned going into their Copa del Rey semi-final matchup with Real Madrid, but he believes Carlo Ancelotti’s team is the favorite to advance to the final.

On Thursday, the first of three Clasicos in a month takes place at the Santiago Bernabeu, with an important LaLiga match sandwiched between their two-legged cup match.

Since Xavi took over, Barca has defeated Madrid twice, including 4-0 in the league last year and a 3-1 triumph in the Supercopa de Espana final in January.

The Catalan giants are currently leading the league by seven points as well, but Xavi thinks Madrid is the favorite because they are the current holders of both the Spanish and European championships.

“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.

“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.”

Robert Lewandowski will be absent for Barcelona in the first leg due to injury, whilst Pedri and Ousmane Dembele are still out. Nevertheless, Ansu Fati has recovered from his injury and is now in contention to play.

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