Luis Garcia Hoping Barcelona Challenge for La Liga, Accepts Real Madrid are 'Favourites'

File photo of Luis Garcia (Photo Credit: Reuters)

File photo of Luis Garcia (Photo Credit: Reuters)

La Liga ambassadors Luis Garcia and Frederic Kanoute though remain hopeful for a late push from Barcelona, though they admit it is going to be difficult with Real Madrid looking 'strong'.

Ritayan Basu
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Real Madrid inched closer to the La Liga title on Monday, with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Granada.

It was Real's ninth consecutive win with goals from Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema as they moved within touching distance of reclaiming the Spanish league title for the first time since 2017.

La Liga ambassadors Luis Garcia and Frederic Kanoute though remain hopeful for a late push from Barcelona, though they admit it is going to be difficult with Real Madrid looking 'strong'.

"I'm crossing my fingers that Barcelona grab the top spot, (but it seems) quite difficult because Real Madrid looks very strong, very solid," Garcia said in a virtual press conference organised by La Liga on Monday.

Garcia went on to say that Real Madrid are "favourites" and doesn't see the Los Blancos "losing many games".

"I think they are the favourite," Garcia said.

Also Read: Los Blancos One Win Away from Securing La Liga Title After Beating Granada

"I don't see Real Madrid dropping points. They had struggled in a couple of games but they got the results despite not playing well. That's most important, to arrive at this strange competition [after the coronavirus break] but get results," Garcia added.

Garcia noted that Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema as central figures in Real Madrid's dominant unbeaten run since the restart after the coronavirus halt, adding that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has shone with his saves.

"They have been absolutely amazing. Ramos is scoring goals from the back and is the leader of the team and in the front Benzema with his goals and movement. He is the one to drop deep and create problems for opposition by moving the ball to the front. Thibaut Courtois has been integral too with his saves," he said.

Kanoute, when asked if Real Madrid's pragmatic fashion in victories - focusing on results rather than style - is something that the president Florentino Perez as well as fans are not impressed by.

Also Read: Inter Milan Beat Torino 3-1, Move to Second in Serie A Table

The Sevilla legend reasons, coach Zinedine Zidane's immediate goal would be to deliver the La Liga trophy in his second stint.

"Zizou is Zizou (laughs). Whatever he touches turns into gold. He gives them results. I don't think they care about the way they play. Zizou has been able to change the system in a very successful way. He loves beautiful football but is also pragmatic," Kanoute said.

"The team plays a very good style. The man in charge is giving the results. They have a fantastic system and play pragmatic football. There is not much room to complain," he added.

Monday's win was proof of that. A difficult game that Real needed to win and did to maintain their four-point lead over Barcelona atop the La Liga points table.

With a win over Villarreal on Thursday or at Leganes on the final day of the season, Real Madrid can clinch their first La Liga title in three years.

Garcia and Kanoute also weighed in on the concerns of many Barcelona fans that 'a team of players growing old'. Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique Luis Suarez are all aged 33 with the likes of Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba all 31.

Garcia feels that talks of a team in transition will only end when Barcelona next win a title.

"Like any team, there is always a moment of transition. And it can be from one year to three to many years. I remember when I signed for Barca in 2003, it was a moment of transition. They had gone 4-5 years without winning a trophy. Two years after that they won everything. So it could be a moment of transition but if you look at their squad, it looks good," Garcia said

"They are trying to move to the future generation. Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati are players who are adding so much talent. They are going to learn so much with the experienced players around them. So it could be a transition but if they win Champions League or La Liga, it won't be a transition year. We can talk about transition when they don't win a trophy," Garcia added.

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