Xavi: The pressure is all on Real Madrid

The Spain international is quite pleased with Barcelona's comfortable lead over its rivals in La Liga, and he has tipped Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d'Or yet again.
Barcelona midfielder Xavi has stressed that the pressure is on Real Madrid ahead of next week's highly anticipated Clasico.

The reigning champions are currently trailing the Catalans by eight points, and Xavi feels Madrid can't afford to let any points slip through their grasp again, even if it's still early in the season.

"Our eight-point lead over Real Madrid is no small matter. It is an advantage we have to make the most of. The league is looking very good for us, and now the pressure is all on Real Madrid," Xavi told Sport.

"There's obviously pressure on us as well ahead of the Clasico, but Madrid can't afford to slip up again. I like the eight-point gap and want to see it remain intact. We were 10 points behind Madrid at some point last year, but we got back into the title race as well. It's too soon to say that we've taken a decisive lead."

The experienced midfielder also had his say on who should win the FIFA Ballon d'Or, and he singled out teammate Lionel Messi as the sky-high favorite to scoop up the prestigious award yet again. The Argentina star has won the inaugural two editions of the individual award, but he lost out to Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta for UEFA's Best Player in Europe award, and he will also contend with Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Messi should win the Ballon d'Or," Xavi said. "If it is supposed to go to the best player in the world, no one else comes close."

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