Xavi Hernandez boasts of a special record against Real Madrid as a manager. Of the seven times the Barcelona legend has taken on Carlo Ancelotti’s men, he has won five and lost just twice.
Further, his men have come out on top in their last three El Clasicos, scoring six goals and conceding just twice.
Barcelona and Real Madrid take on each other for the last time in the 2022/23 season midweek in the second leg of the Copa Del Rey semifinal.
The Catalans have a one-goal lead heading into the game but are missing some big names through injury. There is thus everything to play for at Camp Nou.
According to reports from Catalunya Radio, everything indicates that Xavi will continue with the four-midfielder system on the night even though Pedri and Frenkie de Jong are set to be unavailable due to injury.
There had been some hope that the Netherlands international might recover in time for the game, but it is now being claimed that he is very much ruled out of the contest. Despite missing two key cogs from his midfield contingent, Xavi plans to persist with four central midfielders against Real Madrid.
Sergio Busquets will start alongside Sergi Roberto and Franck Kessie in the middle of the park with Gavi once again likely to play as the false left winger.
The Barcelona captain will play as the lone pivot on the night, aided by Kessie who has been fabulous in his games against Real Madrid. Notably, the Ivory Coast international scored the last-minute winner for the team last month when the two teams met for the league Clasico last month.
Roberto will play the role of the third midfielder on the night in the form of a more attacking presence. With de Jong injured, his performance will be crucial in deciding who wins the midfield battle.
The final cog, Gavi, has been a thorn in the Merengues’ foot in recent clashes and even triggered reactions from the Real Madrid dressing room for his aggression and passion.
Up against the likes of Dani Ceballos, with whom he has a long history, it will be interesting to see how he gets along.