Alves Writes Off Real Madrid
04 February 2013
A leg weary Barcelona may only have managed a draw against Valencia on Sunday night, but more importantly, an equally exhausted Real Madrid slumped to defeat against Granada the day before.
The gap between leaders Barca and champions Real is now 16 points, and Barca defender Dani Alves says that Los Blancos are no longer a major threat to his team’s title ambitions.
Instead, Alves says Barca are looking over their shoulders at second-placed Atletico Madrid.
Diego Simeone’s side beat Real Betis on Sunday night, making up two points on Barca, and drifting three points further afield of Real.
Los Rojiblancos are now nine points behind Alves and co, and while the Brazilian and his team-mates should be able to maintain that gap until the end of the season, he says they are wary of the men from Madrid’s working class team.
"People talk a lot about Madrid when our rivals are Atletico," Alves said.
"We should not look to the team in third place, because there is a team in second. They are closer and, if we do not pay attention, they could surprise us."
Meanwhile, Alves says Barca were happy to have escaped the Mestalla with a point.
Valencia have been nuggety at home this season, and gave Barca a scare from the first minute to the last, when ‘keeper Victor Valdes was forced into a match saving stop from Los Che skipper, Roberto Soldado.
And so Alves admits the Blaugrana travelled home to the Camp Nou with a sense of relief.
"Given the circumstances of the game, we are leaving happy to have picked up something in a ground like this,” he said.
"When you are not at your best, you must be intelligent - if you cannot win, you need to get a point."