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The France international is predicting a closer encounter than others have suggested and pointed to Blancos' improving record against the Catalans in recent years

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema says Barcelona will not go into Wednesday’s Clasico as favourites.

Los Blancos meet their arch-rivals in the Copa del Rey, semi-final first leg at Santiago Bernabeu, and the France international believes Tito Vilanova’s side are not in pole position.

“Barcelona are not favourites,” Benzema told reporters.

“They are a great team, but we're ready for this cup tie. Every year we have done better against Barca. It's the best game in the world and the atmosphere will be incredible.”

The forward also believes that the key to victory will be decided by the mouth-watering array of attacking talent in either side.

He added: “The best thing to do is to try to win and score a lot of goals. but we have to think about the return leg.”

The meeting will be the fourth Clasico of the season, after the teams faced each other twice in the Super Cup before meeting in the league back in October, with that clash ending in a 2-2 draw.

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