Barcelona are world's most difficult club, says Xavi after criticism of Real Madrid win

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez during his side's 1-0 win at Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in March 2023.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Xavi Hernandez has reiterated his belief that Barcelona are 'the most difficult club in the world' following criticism of his team's performance in Thursday night's 1-0 win at Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.

Barcelona edged out their fierce rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu thanks to an Eder Militao own goal, but Xavi was criticised after the Blaugrana registered only 35% possession, their lowest figure in 861 games.

"I see it has caused a bit of a stir," Xavi said on Saturday. "Barça is the most difficult club in the world: you beat Real Madrid 1-0 and it doesn't convince [people].

"If it's the other way round, it's a national holiday. I already said it last year and I was hammered for it: at Barça you have to win and to convince, and that's our objective.

"But the opponent is the defending champion of LaLiga and of the Champions League, and if they press you high, it's difficult. It's about understanding football: speaking of possession when they play man to man is absurd."

And he added: "We didn't put ourselves in the area to be in a low block, Real Madrid put us there. That's football."

Barcelona are seven points clear of Real Madrid and meet Los Blancos at home in LaLiga on March 19, before facing Carlo Ancelotti's side again in the Copa del Rey at Camp Nou in early April.

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.