Baku, November 19, AZERTAC
Xavi Hernandez says without Lionel Messi, Barcelona and Real Madrid are evenly matched teams.
The former Blaugrana midfielder spoke to ESPN ahead of the Clasico and says even though Madrid have some players injured, none of them are as crucial as whether or not Messi makes the game.
He said: "I think the teams are of a similar level if Messi doesn't play. Madrid have injuries, but their injuries are not as important as the one to Messi.
"It's difficult to win in the Bernabeu; very, very difficult without him. But I think Barca are in a good moment to do good things."
Xavi also said that Messi and Ronaldo push each other on, but the Argentine is the better player.
He explained: "Messi wouldn't be as good without Ronaldo. He wouldn't have won all those Ballon d'Ors. And I don't think Ronaldo would have won them all too. They push each other.
"The difference between the two is that while they're both great goalscorers, Messi is much more involved in the play of the team."