Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez wants his team to make a statement at Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Sunday, when it will face LaLiga leader and bitter rivals Real Madrid in a much-anticipated Clasico.

The former Spain midfielder thinks the game is the perfect situation to show what Barca can do, after recovering from a difficult start to the season.

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"It's a litmus test to show how far we've come," Xavi told a news conference on Saturday, adding that there was no need for any extra motivation when facing their fierce rivals.

"It is a spectacular setting to play a great game and show that we are in great form. We have grown as a team. We have to show personality and try to impose our game model."

Both Real and Barca are on four-game winning streaks and are playing with a lot of confidence. But Real, with 66 points from 28 games, have a 10-point advantage over second-placed Sevilla and are 15 ahead of Barca in third.

With 11 matches to play, Xavi thinks making a late run for the title looks "remote, complicated and difficult". But Sunday's encounter will give him a chance to see how much his team have progressed since his arrival in mid-November.

"If we have to label a team as a favourite, it is Real Madrid, they are the leaders and in a great moment, but we are also going through a great momentum," Xavi said.

"It is a great opportunity to change history and a win would greatly support what we are working on. We have to be brave, try to impose our style, and be calm."

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Barca had fallen to ninth in the table when Ronald Koeman was fired, but Xavi has revitalised them and they are unbeaten since their extra-time defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on Jan. 20, having scored 20 goals in their last six league games.

It will face a Real team that will be missing its star striker and LaLiga's top scorer, Karim Benzema, who is recovering from a calf injury.

"Benzema has been playing for two or three years as one of the best forwards in the world. He is a very important loss for them but for us it doesn't change anything," Xavi said.