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Sergio Busquets picks Atletico Madrid as bigger Liga threat over Real Madrid

Busquets also named Yaya Toure as someone he learned a lot from during his emerging years at La Masia

Sergio Busquets(centre) celebrates Barca’s FIFA Club World Cup triumph with teammates

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has raised quite a few eyebrows as he picked Atletico Madrid as this season’s direct La Liga title rivals over their perennial rivals Real Madrid. The Spaniard believes Diego Simeone’s men are currently a greater threat to their league title defense than their derby rivals Los Blancos.

Los Rojiblancos are currently at the summit of the Liga table with 47 points from their 20 games. The Catalan giants sit in second place with 45 points but have played a game fewer than the rest owing to their involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup. Real Madrid, who have begun life under Zinedine Zidane in imperious form, have 43 points from their 20 games.

However, the 27-year-old midfield enforcer expects Atletico Madrid to provide stiff competition in the race for the league title as they did in the 2013-14 campaign and also feels that Atletico are stronger than their illustrious derby rivals Los Merengues at the moment.

"At the moment, you can say Atletico are stronger than Real Madrid," he said. 

"Everyone believes they'll fight for the title.”

"They're getting better all the time, they have very good players and they'll be there until the end of the season."

I learnt a lot from Yaya Toure: Busquets

Busquets was part of a Barcelona side that absolutely decimated teams in Spain and all over Europe on their way to winning five out of an available six major trophies during their 2014-15 campaign. They also achieved the rare treble for the second time in the club’s history which has been unprecedented.

Their dominating performances saw four of their players namely Lionel Messi, Neymar, Andres Iniesta and Daniel Alves included in the 2015 FIFA FIFPro World XI which was announced during the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala earlier in the month.

 However, the absence of Busquets, a vital cog in the Barca juggernaut was met with surprise and cynicism. But the Spaniard preferred to shine the spotlight over to his teammates.

"Everyone likes to be recognised for their work. But a lot of players missed out who had a very good campaign, like a lot of players from our team who won the treble.”

"I prefer to do a good job and the important thing is that we fight for the treble on a collective level and then win two more titles."  

Also, the midfielder revealed that though he never had a clear cut idol in football, he looked up to players with tactics similar to himself such as Patrick Viera, former teammate Xavi and Yaya Toure during his early years at Barca’s La Masia.

"I never had a clear idol, but I looked at the players with similar tactics - Patrick Vieira, then Xavi and Yaya Toure. I have to say I learned a lot from Toure," he added.

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