Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué has declared in an interview with FIFA.com that he never would have expected Real Madrid to drop off the pace so much this season in the title race.
José Mourinho's side are currently 16 points behind Barcelona in the league, which the Spain international called "a very significant gap" but warned: "You can never take it for granted".
Reflections at this stage of the season: "I'm very proud, and this is a unique period. I think it reflects the fact that things are going well, both individually and as a team. I realise these are moments that you have to enjoy and make the most of."
Benefitting from winning Euro 2012: "My injuries wouldn't let me perform to the level I wanted, and disrupted my continuity in the team. The EURO gave me a lot of breathing space and the team played very well defensively, which served as a platform for this season. I've come back strong and motivated, and the team is playing superbly too, which always helps."
Criticism last season on and off the pitch: "It always affects you a little, because the best thing as a defender is when people don't talk about you, and when the rumours start it always makes you uncomfortable. But it's part of football and I've learned to deal with it. Now I value my wellbeing much more. When I arrived at Barcelona everything went smoothly and it all seemed very easy, but when things get complicated it makes you value what you've got, and helps you to be a better player."
The team's approach: "We're taking it game by game, and we're training very hard and well. The way you train is the way you play, and in the end if you train well, you'll play well. That's how we approach matches and it never changes, not even when the pressure is at its greatest."
Team's transition under Tito Vilanova: "Tito is doing a great job. He's not doing any more or less than Pep - he's simply doing what he did, and adding his own touch. The team is performing superbly and the transition has been seamless."
Real Madrid's drop in form: "You never expect it, and it's clear that nobody expected it this time. Real had just won the league and they have a great team. It's a very significant gap but you can never take it for granted."
Hopes for the rest of the season: "I think we're in a good position to lift all three trophies. We've got ambition, desire and talent, which in general are the ingredients you need for victory. I think that, in the Copa del Rey, Champions League and La Liga, we've shown the kind of level that makes us believe we can be champions."