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Sundays Clasico not decisive: Xavi
Published : 05 Oct 2012 15:48:10
Barcelona and Spain star Xavi doesn't believe that a victory in Sunday's showdown with arch-rivals Real Madrid at the Nou Camp would eliminate Jose Mourinho's side from title contention but acknowledged it would put Barca a step closer to regaining the league crown.
"To win would be an important step, but it would not put an end to la Liga. Whatever happens Sunday, there will still be a long way to go," Xavi surmised during Friday's press conference, two days ahead of the Clasico, which if Barcelona win would see them move 11 points ahead of Madrid.
The blaugrana will be without captain Carles Puyol after the defender dislocated his elbow during the club's 2-0 win over Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday, while the status of Puyol's defensive partner Gerard Pique, who is struggling with a left foot injury, is also a concern for Tito Vilanova's men.
"He is doing everything to get back in time. However he has gone 10 days without training and that's difficult (...) I think right now, he rates his chances of playing at 50 percent," revealed Xavi.
The World and two-time European champion then spoke briefly about the club's decision to authorise a large tifo display depicting the Catalan flag to be unveiled before the match.
"Barca represent Catalonia, so I find that logical, normal and very good. But it's only a football match and nothing political," said Xavi.
This weekend's match comes at a time when political tension between Catalonia and the Spanish government is high amidst quarrels over fiscal independence and political autonomy.
On September 11, Catalonia's national day, a pro-independence rally in Barcelona attracted hundreds of thousands of people, doubling as a protest against the Spanish government's tax laws.
Regional president Artur Mas consequently called for early elections to be held on November 25 and promised a referendum on "self-determination".