Barcelona hope to be able to clinch their third consecutive La Liga title as captain Carles Puyol denies national team row because of rivalry with Real Madrid.
BARCELONA, SPAIN (MAY 6, 2011) REUTERS -Barcelona could win their third La Liga crown on the trot when they play city rivals Espanyol at the Nou Camp on Sunday (May 8).
Pep Guardiola's side will take to the pitch knowing the outcome of second-placed Real Madrid's match against Sevilla on Saturday (May 7), where anything less than a victory for Real would put the title within Barca's grasp.The leaders are eight points clear at the top with four matches left to play, and they hold the head-to-head advantage over Real, which is used to decide placings if the clubs finish level on points.
Captain Carles Puyol said nothing could be taken for granted and that they expected a difficult match.
With media attention still focusing on the four "Clasicos" in the last 18 days against Real Madrid, Puyol said it was time to concentrate on the future.
"With a lot of intensity and you know, you live one that way, so imagine four in so little time. But now it is over and we have to concentrate on what is up next," he said.
Puyol played down suggestions that the bad feeling between Barcelona and Real Madrid players after the ill-tempered clashes would affect the players when playing for the national team.
"When you go on the pitch, you defend your team and that is what we have done. Will it affect our relationship when playing for the national team? That is something we don't know, but it should remain on the pitch."
Barca drew 1-1 with Real in their Champions League semi-final second-leg match on Tuesday (May 3) to win 3-1 on aggregate and will face Manchester United in the final at Wembley Stadium in London on May 28.