La Liga

Carlo Ancelotti claims Barcelona aren't "direct rivals in LaLiga title race"

Ancelotti has claimed that Barcelona aren't direct rivals in title race
Ancelotti has claimed that Barcelona aren't direct rivals in title race / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has claimed that Barcelona are not currently rivals in the LaLiga race title race.

The Catalan giants are currently placed eighth on the league table, 18 points behind table-toppers Madrid. They were dumped out of the Champions League earlier this month, but newly appointed boss Xavi is confident that the club will be able to turn their fortunes around.

However, Ancelotti isn't worried about the Camp Nou side, despite Xavi insisting they are still in the race for the title this season.

When asked for his thoughts on Xavi's comments, Ancelotti said: "Barca are not direct rivals now, because there are other teams closer like Sevilla or Betis.

"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."

Madrid are on a 13-game unbeaten run across all competitions, having won their last 10, and sit eight points clear of second-placed Sevilla in the LaLiga.

The club have been hit with a Covid-19 outbreak and Madrid's attacking ranks have been depleted severely. Ancelotti confirmed that Eden Hazard, despite being linked with a move away, will start the game against Cadiz in LaLiga on Sunday.

The Belgium has started just four league games so far this season, and is yet to score a goal. The Italian added: "Tomorrow he [Hazard] will [play]. He is going to play because he has trained well and deserves it. Not because of the casualties. He has worked very hard.

"He has not changed mentally. His problem is that he has not always been able to train at 100 percent, as he does now. He is prepared for what he has shown in training. He was not used to playing on the right wing and I preferred Rodrygo and Asensio there.

"Eden has everything in his locker to enjoy a very good second half of the season and be a useful and important for the team."