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Real Madrid's Alvaro Arbeloa hoping 'friends in Granada' upset Barcelona

Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa says his team are hoping for help from Granada this weekend to win the Liga title, while admitting that success in the Champions League final seems more likely at this stage.

Madrid go into their final La Liga game of the season at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday a point behind leaders Barcelona, who will retain the trophy should they win at already-safe Granada.

The former Spain full-back, 33, who received an emotional farewell in last weekend's 3-2 La Liga win over Valencia, said on radio show El Larguero that he and his teammates would travel to Riazor believing things could still swing their way.

"We can end up champions," Arbeloa said. "There is a chance and we are focused on winning in Coruna and that our friends in Granada give us a hand."

Blancos coach Zinedine Zidane has said he is not yet thinking about May 28's Champions League final against Atletico Madrid in Milan. However, key players including Gareth Bale, Keylor Navas and Luka Modric were not chosen for the Valencia game due to minor niggles and knocks, while top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted midway through the second half.

Arbeloa admitted that there was more excitement about their Champions League chances given they were in control of their own destiny in that competition. "We think more about the Champions League as it is in our hands," he said.

Meanwhile, Madrid's honorary president Paco Gento, who won six European Cups as a player in the 1950s and 1960s, has told the club's website that he was hoping to beat Atletico in this year's Champions League decider, repeating the win of two years ago in Lisbon.

"We're going to go into this year's Champions League final to win, just as we did in Portugal," Gento said. "We've got a great side and brilliant players and we can't slip up now.

"We'll have to fight like wolves for the full 90 minutes, which is the only way to win silverware. We've never gone out playing for a draw, we always used to take to the field to win and that's why we won so much. The fans enjoyed themselves back in those days, and they continue to do so today. It would be an honour for us to win the 11th European Cup and to toast that victory."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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