The Catalan midfielder has made it clear that the team won’t be taking a cautious approach on Wednesday at the Bernabeu: “we’ll try and attack and dominate possession”. Xavi admitted that the games against Madrid: “have an extra motivational factor”.
If there's any Barça player who knows a lot about games against Madrid, it's Xavi Hernádez, who has been a member of the first team for the last 13 years and he plumped for last season's 5-0 win as the best of the match ups, explaining: "it was pure Barça – excellent!" Wednesday will see another game and Xavi insisted that the fact that it's the first of a two legged tie doesn't mean the team won't: "be as bold as ever – we don't know how to go and play for a draw and we will aim to go out and attack. We'll play with our trademark style and philosophy, exciting, spectacular and looking for a goal – the more goals you score away from home, the better!"
Xavi also reckons there will be no need for special incentive for the game: "these games have an extra motivational factor, which means the team are really fired up from the start. They are a historic rival and it's a special ground."
The Catalan also commented on Mourinho's team's current form: "they are now going toe to toe with us. They pressure us more up the pitch. Theirs is a very direct football, with players who can kill you on the break and are really fast up front."
The match will also see the top three players in FIFA's Ballon d'Or in action and as one of them, Xavi discussed the other two - Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo: "Leo will always make the difference. He's usually a decisive player and he's someone who grows with these games and likes playing in these games."
As for Madrid's main man, Xavi doesn't see him having a problem with the relative lack of goals of late: "strikers do have runs of scoring and sometimes they dry up, it's something a player gets used to –especially goalscorers."
Echoing Pep Guardiola's comments on Saturday, Xavi was full of praise for Sergio Busquets and expressed his belief that: "he should have been in the FIFPro World XI. He's an extraordinary player and he rarely makes a mistake either in attack or defence. He gives us balance and is key to our system. He's more valued by his fellow professionals than by the media."
Finally, Xavi was quizzed about the recent decisions by referees that have denied the team what looked like clear penalties against Espanyol and Betis: "this year the ref's decisions have gone more against us, but last year it was the other way round. It's all just a part of the job."
The game against Betis marked Xavi's 400th league appearance for the Club, but he insists that: "personal and individual records are not in my mind – I just want collectively for us to continue winning, taking titles – that's the main objective for the squad this season. I just try and enjoy every day and I'm having a good time on the pitch and I have been given an extraordinary role." (via FCBarcelona.cat)