Messi keeps La Liga title talk off agenda

13 January 2013 07:16

Barcelona may be 11 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Atletico Madrid, but Lionel Messi, who this week won his fourth consecutive Ballon d'Or, is keeping his feet on the ground regarding the title race.

The Argentinian is taking nothing for granted as Barca prepare to face one of the toughest trips in La Liga when they visit fourth-placed Malaga on Sunday.

"The league is still not resolved, Madrid have made up a similar lead to this in the past, we know that we can't take anything as won and we must continue without errors or relaxing," he said.

"I would have liked to have won more titles last year, my goal is always to keep getting better and not be content with what I have, I always say I have to improve everything," he added, ominously for La Liga defences after finishing 2012 with a record 91 goals.

Barca also have David Villa, who is yet to play a full 90 minutes in the league this season, back in goalscoring form after he hit a double in the 5-0 Spanish Cup win against Cordoba on Thursday.

Malaga were also successful in the cup in midweek, defeating Eibar 4-1 to set up a two-legged quarter-final clash with Sunday's opponents that will see the two sides meet three times in little over 10 days.

Former Barca forward Javier Saviola, now with Malaga, recognises they will be big games for him.

"They will be special for me personally and on a football level. They are a powerful and very technical team and any draw against a big club is good, but we'll be going out to win," said the Argentine.

Second-placed Atletico also reached the quarter-finals in midweek and welcomed back top-scorer Radamel Falcao who they missed through injury in the 1-1 league draw at Mallorca last Sunday.

The Colombian should be available for the home clash with Zaragoza on Sunday where the side from the capital will look to make it 10 league wins from 10 in their own stadium.

On Saturday, Jose Mourinho got under more pressure when misfiring Real Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw at relegation-threatened Osasuna, a result which has now left the champions 15 points behind Barca.

Elsewhere Saturday, Spanish international forward Roberto Soldado got the goals as Valencia beat Sevilla 2-0 while earlier the same day, Valladolid beat Mallorca 3-1 and Espanyol posted a crucial 1-0 win over Celta Vigo.



Betis v Levante (1100 GMT), Real Sociedad v Deportivo La Coruna (1600 GMT), Atletico Madrid v Zaragoza (1800 GMT), Malaga v Barcelona (1700 GMT)


Getafe v Granada (1900 GMT)

Source: AFP

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