Barcelona midfielder Xavi has suggested that the absence of Lionel Messi from the Blaugrana's starting lineup is a greater loss for Barca than Cristiano Ronaldo's suspension for Real Madrid.
Going into this weekend's round of Primera Liga fixtures, neither talisman will feature for his side. Messi will sit out Barca's derby game against Espanyol at Camp Nou as he is suffering from an ankle injury picked up in the Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev.
Ronaldo will miss Madrid's game against third placed Valencia as he is serving a suspension for his dismissal the Blancos' win over Almeria at the Bernabeu last weekend.
"For me, Barcelona loses more when [Lionel] Messi is out than [Real] Madrid do when they have no Cristiano [Ronaldo]," Xavi told a press conference.
Xavi also declared that Messi is "beyond compare" with any other player in world football.
"As an individual he [Messi] is always thinking about the collective good. To have the best player in the world working for the team is fantastic. He is beyond compare, above every footballer and that's why he won [the Ballon d'Or] with the best points difference in history," he added.
Paul Madden, Goal.com
Discuss all the latest in the Goal.com Forums.