A victory over Rayo Vallecano has seen Real Madrid move 10 points clear of a struggling Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has refused to rule Barcelona out of the league title battle.
Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema’s first-half goals were enough to seal a 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, enabling Real Madrid to leapfrog Real Sociedad into first place in La Liga.
While Barcelona, who blew a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 at Celta Vigo on the same day, fell 10 points behind Los Blancos in a distant ninth. However, with Xavi back as manager and the season still at an early stage, Ancelotti insists the Catalan club can launch a comeback in the title race.
“It’s difficult for me to talk about Barcelona and their situation,” said the Italian in a post-match conference in Madrid.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for the club and for Xavi. They’ve got quality players to get them out of this difficult situation. It’s a surprise that Barcelona are falling behind, but I believe that they can turn it around because it’s a very long season and the league is very competitive.”
Ancelotti added: “The league won’t be won with 100 points, anything can still happen.”