What would this Clasico mean for Xavi?

For Xavi and Barcelona, this weekend serves as validation and confirmation of all the things that you think you’ve been doing. This puts you at a different level in terms of achievement because of what it means on the field but because of what it means for the growth of your team.  

The Spanish Super Cup semi-final was a moral victory, now to go into the Bernabeu and win is an actual victory it’s no longer the “we’re OK with playing well” no, now the philosophy is we’re playing well and we’re winning. Barcelona played against Osasuna knowing full well that you had to go to Galatasaray and advance in the Europa League and knowing full well that you had a Clasico at the end of the week, Barcelona was able to go through those three games having won all three, I think it proves a lot to Xavi and the group of players more importantly to those group of players inside that locker room, that this team is different now.

The league title is not really on the line, Madrid has a 10-point lead at the top of the table it’s 15 points over Barcelona and Xavi Hernandez said last week that it would be difficult, almost impossible now. Even if Barcelona were to win the Clasico you’d need Real Madrid to drop points three or four times that just hasn’t happened all season so it’s not about to happen now. So, League wises it isn’t big, but this is about validation, validation for Barcelona. After the Super Cup, Pique said “we lost but we’re getting closer to winning now” it was really interesting to see the fallout to that game because after that game you had this idea that Barcelona felt like we were getting there and one of the first lines in one of the Catalan newspapers was “Barcelona are not back yet but nearly they’re getting there.”

I think it did set up if you like the beginning of this process where it felt like Barcelona is starting to get things right now. In the very next game, Barcelona lost three to athletic 3-2 to Athletic Club and got knocked out of the Copa del Rey, but since then it’s twelve matches and no defeats. There’s a very clear sense of this team developing finding its feet finding an identity being the kind of team that Xavi wanted to be. In the last 10 games, they’ve scored four goals five times. So, I think all this run is fine, but it’s the Clasico the culmination and proof that says this team is for real?

If they were to win, it makes very little difference in terms of winning the league because they know they’re not going to, but it’s quite significant in terms of them being in a Champions League place at the end of the season, I think Xavi is thinking about the validation of what it is they’re trying to do, rather than the game itself.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona the Last Clasico

It’s time to look ahead to the Clasico, and it’s so different from the previous one this year when these two teams were earlier in the season. Real Madrid is coming with the momentum after an extraordinary comeback against PSG. Barcelona has come together beautifully over the last few weeks, so this has the makings of a brilliant game.

Nothing like we saw in the first leg where Barcelona was depressed, they were still recovering from the Lionel Messi, traumatic departure, they didn’t have any money, and had a bunch of talented young players without any experience.

They did some good signings in the winter transfer market, and now they have an 11 games unbeaten streak. Real Madrid on the other hand will be at their best as well. After the amazing comeback against PSG which gave them a lot of energy, now all their key players are 100%, Courtois is having an amazing year and Karim Benzema is having the best season of his career.

Since Xavi arrived at Barcelona, he has gotten this team to play well, giving them an identity. Then in the transfer window in January, so many of those new signings had a real impact and now they have the team trending in the right direction. Real Madrid with almost La Liga title in hand, their mindset is in the champions league draw against Chelsea, and after the PSG match, there will be a little bit of a hangover.

But the Clasico regardless of the form in which the teams come in is always a fair and even match. For Barcelona is one of their biggest matches of the year, and for Real Madrid, is another opportunity to humiliate their arch-rivals. It will be a game to watch. Who will come out victorious? Sunday will have the answer.