Football

Xavi.

Xavi names his two favourite current Real Madrid players

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Barcelona and Real Madrid often dominate the football headlines during a normal week. During the build up to El Clasico, the debate about arguably European football's biggest game is relentless.

One man who knows more than most what it is to play in one of the high-intensity fixtures is Barcelona legend Xavi.

The veteran midfielder, currently playing his football in Qatar, has been speaking about this Saturday's clash with Spanish radio station COPE

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Xavi may now be turning out for Al Sad in Qatar but, realistically, the footballing world will remember the 36-year-old midfielder as a one club man.

For 17 years he was the heartbeat of Barcelona and he played a pivotal role in eight La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and three Copa Del Rey's.

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As such, he has come to define everything about the Catalan club and, as you might expect, isn't exactly the most popular player amongst Real Madrid fans - even with his achievements with the Spanish national team.

Respect

However, just because he spent two decades competing against Los Blancos doesn't mean Xavi isn't capable of admiration for some of the members of Zinedine Zidane's current squad.

But, just which of the current Real stars are particular favourites of the ex-Barcelona man?

Rather than Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or former international teammate Sergio Ramos, it is two Madrid stars who sometimes slip under the radar who have Xavi's seal of approval.

"Many," he said when asked to name his favourite before ultimately settling on his decision.

"I do not hide that I like (Luca) Modric and Marcelo is playing at an incredible level."

Given Xavi was one of the finest midfielders of his generation, capable of picking out a pass from any area of the pitch, it is perhaps no surprise that Modric gets the nod. The diminutive Croatian is amongst he best in the world at creating chances for his teammates.

Marcelo, meanwhile, hasn't always been the flavour of the month in Madrid but has been playing very well so far this season during Madrid's impressive unbeaten run.

Obviously, it will surprise a lot of people not to see Ronaldo the first name listed by Xavi. Or maybe it won't.

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Rivalry

The Barca icon has something of a frosty relationship with the Portuguese, largely based around the former's constant declarations that Lionel Messi is the better of the two superstars.

And, in the same interview, Xavi once again stoke the fire by reaffirming exactly he thinks Messi deserves the Ballon d'Or over Ronaldo.

"If we rely on titles, the favourite for the Ballon d'Or is Cristiano. If we talk about the best of the planet, it is Messi."

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As for who has the edge between his former club and their fiercest rivals in this weekend's El Clasico? Xavi said it is 50-50, although Barcelona may have a little more pressure to perform after their recent run of poor results.

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Topics:
La Liga
Real Madrid
Football
Cristiano Ronaldo
Andres Iniesta
Lionel Messi
Barcelona

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