Dani Carvajal has admitted Real Madrid are surprised to see Barcelona far behind them in the league this season. The Spaniard added the Catalan side might be struggling, but they are not out of the running for any trophy this season.
Barcelona have made a slow start to the season, which led to Ronald Koeman's sacking. Xavi has been appointed as his replacement as the Catalan side look to chase Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid for the league title.
MARCA caught up with Carvajal this week as he joins the Spanish national team camp for the upcoming games. Speaking to the publication, the Real Madrid star was questioned about Barcelona and said:
"As [Carlo Ancelotti] said, we are surprised to see Barcelona so far behind [in the title race], but nobody can rule them out for any trophy. Respect is essential."
However, he has refused to rule out Barcelona from the title race and compared their situation under Zinedine Zidane.
"Far from it. When [Zinedine] Zidane arrived we were 12 points behind Barcelona and we finished one point behind them, pushing them until the final game."
When asked about his former Spanish teammate Xavi taking over at Barcelona, Carvajal wished him good luck in his new career at Camp Nou, but not against Real Madrid.
"A change for sure. The arrival of a figure like Xavi for Barcelona is going to fill them with hope. Although he is a rival I wish him all the luck in the world, [but] not against us [laughs]."
Xavi is back at Camp Nou, and the Barcelona legend wants to take the club back to the top. He spoke to the club's official website and chalked out plans for the youngsters at the Catalan side.
"We have some extraordinary youngsters like Gavi, Nico and Balde, and we will help them to make sure they can perform to their peak every time. We need to aim for success. We are Barça and we have to be the best."
Xavi's first Barcelona match would be against their Catalan rivals, Espanyol, on Saturday, 20th November. His first El Clasico (game against Real Madrid) will be in January.
Where does Mane rank in Paul Merson's 5 greatest Liverpool signings of the Klopp era? Click here