Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has claimed that Real Madrid remain the favourites to win the 2022/23 La Liga title.

Speaking to the media ahead of his team’s La Liga season opener against Rayo Vallecano (h/t Barca Blaugranes), Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has stated that arch-rivals Real Madrid are the favourites to lift the La Liga crown once again.

Barcelona begin their season with a home match against Rayo Vallecano at the Spotify Camp Nou later tonight on Saturday. Having completed the registration of all but one of their new signings heading into the game, the spirits within the Catalan club are high, considering the quality of players they have brought in.

So, naturally, there are talks about Xavi’s men beating bitter rivals Real Madrid to the title this season. Xavi was quizzed about the same during his pre-match presser on Friday night, but the Barcelona boss insisted that the reigning champions go into the new campaign as the favourites.

“I wouldn’t stay so. We have signed very well but we need to do our talking on the pitch. Show what we can do, with our style of play, and get results. To call us favorites right now to win it all, I wouldn’t say that. Real Madrid are the champions, they are the favourites,” the Barcelona legend said.

Talking about the game against Rayo Vallecano, Xavi added: “We start with great enthusiasm with the new signings and confidence. Rayo is a team that Iraola has worked very well on. It’s a litmus test.”

Barcelona have brought in five new players this summer, signing Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen this summer, while they also re-signed Ousmane Dembele to a new contract after his previous one expired. 

While they have significantly strengthened their squad, Barcelona will need to make a winning start to the season so they can keep pace with Real Madrid after missing out on the title by 13 points last season. A good start against Rayo Vallecano could set the tone for the rest of the season for the Blaugrana, although they had lost each of their two meetings against Los Franjirrojos last season.

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