Xavi has highlighted the threat posed to Barcelona by Juventus forward Paulo Dybala and suggested that Dani Alves remains a big miss at Camp Nou.
A heavyweight encounter at the quarter-final stage of this season’s Champions League is set to pitch title holders from Spain and Italy into direct competition.
Barca are due in Turin for the first leg of that contest on Tuesday, with their hopes of securing a positive result likely to rest on their ability to contain a Juve forward line that includes mooted transfer target Dybala and former Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.
"I would say that the most talented member of the Juventus team is Dybala,” Xavi told Goal when quizzed on an eagerly-anticipated contest.
“Higuain too can scores goals at any time, but I think Dybala stands out as the most talented Juve player.”
Barca will also be pitted against a familiar face on Italian soil, with Xavi acknowledging that the void created by Dani Alves’ move to Serie A last summer is yet to be filled at Camp Nou.
He added: "If I could take any Juve player for Barca, I’d obviously take Dani Alves back. He decided to leave but for me he is the best right-back currently playing in the world and Barca miss him a lot.
Xavi answers your Barcelona, Juventus and Qatar questions in a Facebook live! A Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy collaboration.
Posted by Goal.com on Tuesday, 11 April 2017
“Dybala, for example, would be a great option for Barca in the future but it is difficult, Barca have practically the best players in the world right now and it is hard to improve on that.
“Juventus have a great team, though. It is going to be a very tough tie for both teams, I’d say Barca are favourites but Juventus could make it very hard for them.
"Buffon I'd take too, of course, but Buffon is practically at the end of his career. Clearly with Buffon we are talking about one of the best goalkeeper in the sport’s history, along with [Iker] Casillas and a few others.
“He has been an historic goalkeeper but he is now 38 or 39, logic says he is at the end of his career. But the career Buffon has had is admirable, as is the fact he is still playing at the highest level."
While talking up the talent at Juve’s disposal, Xavi remains confident that it will be his former club taking another step closer to European glory once the dust settles on a two-legged tie – although he is hoping to see them avoid the need for a repeat of their stunning 6-5 aggregate victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.
“A result? I think Barca will score in Turin,” he said.
“I think Neymar, Messi and Suarez can do a lot of damage. I think Barca will score, maybe in a score draw, 1-1 or 2-2 in the first leg and then Barca will win at Camp Nou 2-0 or 3-1. Barca will go through.
"I hope a comeback is not needed because they already made me sweat too much after the 4-0 in Paris. It was incredible.
“If I had bet on a Barca comeback it would have looked hard to me, there was almost no chance. It had never before happened in Champions League history, coming back from 4-0 down in the first leg. Never. Only Barcelona can do these things."
While Barca will be buoyed by their last outing in continental competition, they head into a meeting with Juve on the back of a surprise 2-0 defeat to Malaga which has put a serious dent in their La Liga title aspirations.