Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic feels they’ve fought back from the blow of losing Neymar last summer.
Rakitic believes Barca are now a better team without the PSG star.
“He is one of the best players in the world, but sometimes the best players in the world don’t make the best team,” he said to Croatian publication Sportske Novosti.
“We have overcome his departure with collective work.
“We have worked as hard as possible and have been able to win.”
Speaking about the Clasico on December 23, Rakitic joked that a loss might ruin Christmas.
“One of the two teams will have a sad Christmas,” he said.
“It will be great game once again and I’m sure we have a chance of winning it.
“Winning would be a nice way to finish off the year.”