Xavi Talks Up FC Barcelona Title Chances After Atletico Madrid Win

Xavi Hernandez talked up FC Barcelona’s standing as La Liga title contenders following their gutsy win over Atletico Madrid at the Metropolitano on Sunday.

The Blaugrana came out on top in the Spanish capital after a 22nd minute strike from Ousmane Dembele was enough to separate the two battling teams.

Three points earned meant that the Catalans edged three points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid before heading to the Middle East for the Spanish Super Cup on Thursday.

Asked about Barca’s title chances this season, Xavi said that his team has finally arrived as candidates.

“This victory is not just three points, it is a victory that gives us a lot of morale for what’s left of La Liga, because we’ve hit the table to be candidates,” he said.

“We had a lot at stake knowing that Real Madrid had lost,” Xavi added, in reference to Los Blancos’ 2-1 upset away at Villarreal on Saturday.

“Against Espanyol I said that we deserved more and here we took the points without playing so well. We have not won with such an excellent game as the one we did against Espanyol or Intercity, but we got three golden points.

“The message is that we can also win without playing well, because we won’t always be able to play well. Those are three points that give us a lot, leadership and confidence for what’s to come,” he went on.

“We have won as a team and as a family,” Xavi further noted. “The first half hour convinced me, because we dominated and we understood that we had superiority through the middle. That is how Dembele’s goal arrived, [through] a dribble from Pedri that supported Gavi.”

With the Uruguayan pulling off a last-gasp block on the line that denied a certain late equalizer for Atleti, Xavi also singled Ronald Araujo out for praise.

“He is a leader. He was perfect, like [Jules] Kounde, [Andreas] Christensen and [Alejandro] Balde. At the end I asked him if he was okay,” Xavi added.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomsanderson/2023/01/09/xavi-talks-up-fc-barcelona-title-chances-after-atletico-madrid-win/