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"The league isn't over, we believe we can catch Barça"

The Real Madrid and France forward gave an exclusive interview to AS and declared that no-one in the Madrid dressing room has given up hope of winning the league.

Fréderic Hermel

"The league isn't over, we believe we can catch Barça"

Despite the Ajax game being a dead rubber, Madrid played well

Yes, we took the game seriously because we wanted to finish off the group stages with a victory, above all as a gift to our fans. We knew we couldn't get first place in the group, but we did a good job and we were pleased with our performance.

Although you didn't score, you looked comfortable out on the pitch and you set up Cristiano's goal. You have developed a good understand with him, haven't you?

I've always got on well with him and every game we seem to understand each other better on the pitch. I hope this understanding we have keeps on growing.

Higuaín's injury has given you the chance to play more. How are you feeling at the moment?

For me it's important to get a run of games together so I can get in the rhythm of things and feel good in terms of my fitness. I'm feeling very fit at the moment and I've worked very hard to get to this level.

How do you analyse the group stages of the Champions League? Is it not a little disappointing to qualify in second place?

No, we can't be sad for not getting first because the crucial thing was to qualify. There are now no easy teams left in the tournament. Whether you come first or second is immaterial because if you want to get to the final you have to face some very good teams.

How have you been affected by the slip ups in the league? Is there uncertainty in the dressing room?

Of course we were gutted after the defeats to Sevilla and Betis. We were dejected, but thanks to the brilliant win in the derby over Atlético we have picked ourselves up. Now we are on the right track again to try and win the league. The title is not over yet.

Does the dressing room still believe you can win the league?

Of course! We believe we can catch them up. It's not over yet and we're going to continue to fight for the league. We remember last season very well, when in March we had a ten point lead over Barça and then they got very close to us by the end and had their chances to catch us, so we believe we can still fight for the title. But there's no doubt we can't afford to drop any more points.

But with the points difference there is with Barça, the Champions League seems like a more important objective..

In Real Madrid you don't choose which trophies you try and win, you fight for them all. Our aim at the beginning of every season is always the same: the league, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. We're not going to give up on any of them.

Which team would you prefer to get in the next round of the Champions League?

Paris Saint-Germain, of course, they are a French team and I have many friends in that team like [Jeremy] Menez and [Blaise] Matuidi. I speak to Menez on the phone every day. PSG have had some problems in the French league but they finished first in their group after having a great Champions League campaign. I have no doubt it would be difficult for us, but I would love to play against them.

Estadísticas AS.com