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Barcelona knew Real Madrid would challenge for La Liga, says Blaugrana defender

3.20K   //    11 Feb 2019, 13:11 IST

FC Barcelona v Sevilla - Copa del Rey Quarter Final
FC Barcelona v Sevilla - Copa del Rey Quarter Final

What's the story?

As Real Madrid are closing the gap on their Catalan rivals, Barcelona full-back Sergi Roberto has claimed that his side always knew their longstanding rivals would be challenging for the Spanish league title this season.

In case you didn't know...

Real Madrid have been on a five-game winning streak in La Liga, helping them close the gap on table-toppers Barcelona to a mere five points.

Real's derby win over Atletico Madrid on Saturday means that the side has returned to second place in the league table for the first time since September. Together with Barcelona's draw against Athletic Club, Los Blancos appears to finally be going in the right direction.

The European champions have had a torrid start to the season following the exit of former boss Zinedine Zidane and Portuguese talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.

The side suffered under Julen Lopetegui and it took a series of horrible results and an embarrassing Clasico defeat to Barca for the manager to be sacked.

Santiago Solari has since taken charge but it still looked like Real had a long way to go before they could challenge for any title. However, the team appears to have redeemed themselves with a winning streak that has left the Catalans on their toes.

The heart of the matter


Barca defender Roberto has now claimed that the Catalan club always knew that Real Madrid would be challenging for the title despite the initial bumps they had along the road.

According to Football Espana, Roberto said, "We knew they would be challenging this season. Now they are ahead of Atleti and in good form but the reality is that we are still first and we will look to keep this advantage until the end of the season."

The Barca man also believes that his side is doing well despite the recent run of draws.

"The run of draws? Well, we are still six points clear in La Liga and in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, so we are going well."

What's next?

While Real Madrid will face Ajax in the Champions League on February 14, Barcelona are scheduled to face Valladolid in La Liga on February 17.