Barcelona coach Xavi has insisted that beating Real Madrid in Sunday’s Clasico at Camp Nou won’t decide La Liga’s title race, even if it would be a ‘big blow’ to Los Blancos.
Barça top the table with a nine-point lead ahead of the fourth Clasico of the season – second in the league after two others in the Supercopa de Espana and Copa del Rey.
Winning on Sunday, as they did in both cup competitions – the second leg of the Copa semi-final will be played next month – would extend that lead to 12 points. With only 12 games left for each after the weekend, that would be an enormous gap for Real to close.
“Whatever happens tomorrow, it won’t be definitive,” Xavi commented on Saturday. “There’s still a long way to go, but winning would mean a big blow for Real Madrid.”
A shock defeat to Almeria has been a rare blip for Barcelona as far as domestic football is concerned in 2023. The Catalans have won every other La Liga game they have played, notably managing to grind out narrow 1-0 wins on no fewer than six occasions – including each of the last two games.
Barça have already won the Supercopa this season but have a great chance of making that a domestic treble should they hold on to their La Liga cushion and go all the way in the Copa del Rey – they hold a 1-0 aggregate lead over Real ahead of the semi-final second leg.
Real have dropped points in two of their last four La Liga games and have also been beaten by Mallorca and Villarreal in the league in 2023, helping Barça to open up the gap at the top.