Xavi: Barcelona 'have capacity to win all titles' but Real Madrid favourites for La Liga

Barca open eight-point gap at the top after 3-0 win over Sevilla on Sunday night

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Barcelona manager Xavi has said the club "have the capacity to win all the titles we have left" but insisted Real Madrid remain favourites for La Liga, despite his team opening up an eight-point lead at the top.

Barca continued their unbeaten start to the year with an impressive 3-0 La Liga win over Sevilla at Camp Nou on Sunday, Jordi Alba, Gavi, and Raphinha scoring the goals in the second half. Combined with Real Madrid's shock 1-0 defeat at Mallorca on Saturday, Barcelona now hold a commanding lead at the top of the standings as the Catalans aim to win their first title since 2019.

"We look at both the points difference and the performance today as a sign we are in a moment of great confidence," Xavi said. "It was a key match because the teams below had lost.

"Real Madrid are eight points behind us and although it's still early days, it's an important distance. We always think about where we come from and now we are in a privileged situation.

"We like being leaders, having this advantage and the good feeling the team is giving us. We've played two very good games this week and that gives us a lot of confidence."

Despite Barcelona's commanding position in La Liga and Real Madrid's comparative struggles – the champions have lost two and drawn one of five league games in 2023 – Xavi warned that there is no room for complacency and that their rivals should not be taken lightly.

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"I don't know if we're the most reliable team in the league. We are in a good moment, but this changes," he said. "We can't relax. This is a long race and we have to keep working with humility. The team is buying into the message. We are building something very good, but nothing has been won. Only the Super Cup. We are hungry.

"Madrid can beat any team and they still have to come to Camp Nou. Next matchday we go to a ground where Madrid lost (Villarrreal). Every game is going to be a war and it's not over yet. I don't see us as more of a favourite, but more of a candidate. The favourites are still Real Madrid, who are the current champions of La Liga and the Champions League."

After a disappointing Champions League campaign saw them finish third in their group, Barca are also fighting for silverware in the Europa League, where they face Manchester United in the first knockout round next Thursday.

Xavi has warned his Barcelona team that now is not the time to 'relax'. EPA

"We have the capacity to win all the titles we have left, but we have to prove it on the pitch," Xavi said. "Euphoria is fine, but it has to be curbed."

Xavi also reserved special praise for Raphinha after the Brazilian winger's key contribution in the victory against Sevilla. Raphinha, signed last summer in a big-money move from Leeds United, has been in and out of the team during his debut season but has excelled since the turn of the year. His assist and goal against Sevilla took his tally to eight goal involvements – four goals and four assists – in 2023.

“As for Raphinha, he was intense, he attacked spaces, and gave us key things in attack and he is doing decisive things," Xavi said. “Now it seems to me that he stands out more as he is an extraordinary player.”

Updated: February 06, 2023, 6:20 AM