Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez has cast his vote in favor of Real Madrid following Los Blancos’ unbelievable win over Celta Vigo.
Image: Xavi Hernandez
The Spanish midfielder who currently plays for Qatari club Al Saad says this 2016/17 La Liga race is as good as over, in favor of Zinedine Zidane and his team.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace while Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema also found the net to hand Madrid an outright victory.
With the successful outing at Balaidos on Wednesday, Los Blancos are now three points clear of Barca as teams prepare for Sunday’s last round of matches.
Although Madrid will need only a point to lift the league crown when they meet Malaga at La Rosaleda, there are speculations that the underdogs may prove a hard nut to crack.
Apart from Michel and Mandia, the two Albicelestes coaching staff who have some experience with Madrid, the club coach Jose Miguel Gonzalez is counting on five players to hand Zidane a heartbreak as both teams clash to end what has been an unpredictable season.
However, Xavi says it’s highly unlikely that Zidane’s men would let this chance slip from their grasp at the last minute.
A loss for Madrid means more than a victory for their arch-rivals Barcelona.
“It’s very difficult for LaLiga to escape Madrid,” said Xavi, an eight-time La Liga winner. “They’re very strong. They have Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco… players that I like a lot.
The central midfielder continued: “The key game was the one in Vigo and they still won it.
“Hopefully they lose at Malaga and Barca are champions, but it’s tough, frankly.
“Malaga are at a good moment in their season and to win there will be very tough. They have to produce a miracle like Tenerife did so that Barca win LaLiga.
“Defeats [for Barca] like Alaves at home and Deportivo La Coruna away carry a heavy toll and only at the end of the season can you weigh up the overall campaign.”
Winning the league will prove an added boost to Madrid’s Champions League campaign against Italian giants Juventus.
Both teams will meet in Cardiff, Wales, where they hope to defend their reputations as the world’s best clubs on 3 June.
“Juventus are very good, too. They’re a great side. They’ve already shown that by knocking out Barcelona and producing a great defensive display,” he said, professing his good wishes for Gianluigi Buffon.
“I think the final is 50-50. The other day, I heard that Buffon [Juve goalkeeper] has never won the Champions League. He deserves to win it and the Ballon d’Or.”