Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti says FC Barcelona are no longer serious rivals to his team.
Ancelotti said this was because the Catalans are too low down the Spanish La Liga table.
Indeed, Barcelona lie eighth in La Liga after 16 matches, trailing leaders Madrid by 18 points.
They got kicked out of the UEFA champions league two weeks ago,
Ancelotti’s Real are way ahead of the remaining pack, but he feels the threat to league conquests lies not with Barcelona.
That is despite coach Xavi Hernandez insisting the Nou Camp side will fight this season.
“Barca are not direct rivals now, because there are other teams closer like Sevilla or Betis,” he said.
“But they have the quality to move up the table and if I were Barcelona’s coach, I would say exactly the same as Xavi.
Meanwhile, Barcelona threw away a 2-goal lead against Elche, but needed a Nico Gonzalez special to clinch a 3-2 win at home Saturday.
Goals from Ferran Jutgla and Pablo Gavira in the first half gave the Catalan side hope for a goal feast.
But they were brought down to earth second half as two quick goals from Elche’s substitutes Tete Morente and Pere Milla almost spoilt the weekend for Catalan fans.
However, Nico Gonzalez saved the day with a strike from 12-yards out after being set-up by enterprising Gavin in the 85th minute.
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The win takes Barcelona to 7th, but they may be pushed back after other matches are played.
Barcelona no longer our major rivals – Ancelotti