Thiago: Barca will relish title
Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara says he and his team-mates are looking forward to regaining the Primera Division title from Real Madrid.
Reigning champions Madrid's 6-2 win over Malaga on Wednesday kept the title race alive, but likely only for a few more days. Barca will be confirmed as champions on Saturday if Jose Mourinho's side drop points at Espanyol, or then if they themselves win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
The Catalan team's young playmaker said that winning a fourth title in five seasons would mean a lot to his side.
"La Liga is a title which we value a lot," Thiago said. "La Liga is the day-to-day competition, where you are most focused. We fought for it all year. We want it a lot as last year they took it from us. Now we want it back."
Not that the game against Atletico - who sealed third spot with a 3-1 win at Celta Vigo on Wednesday evening and are already preparing for the Copa del Rey final a week on Friday against neighbours Real Madrid - would be easy, Thiago maintained.
"It is never easy to play there," he said. "They are a team for the Champions League and are in the Copa final. They will play a very serious game. But we want to win to seal the title."
The Italy-born midfielder, 22, who has made 32 appearances so far this season, said he could not complain about how things had turned out for him personally after a difficult start.
"I am satisfied with the season," Thiago said. "I began with two injuries but we are finishing it well. I would see it as a positive campaign. This has been a season for me to get minutes, to play regularly. My role is to help my team-mates, I am just one member of the squad."
A question on whether his ambition was to be the long-term successor for Xavi Hernandez in the Barca midfield was deflected.
"I have ambition every day," Thiago said. "I have my own personal goals. Xavi is Xavi, it is difficult to equal what he has achieved. That is spectacular."
His brother Rafinha, 20, has impressed for Barca B in the Segunda Division this season, was ready to join him with the senior side, Thiago suggested.
"He is ready," he said. "In la Segunda he has played very good games, and he could play for any team in the Primera Division. He would give big things to any team."