Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has laughed off suggestions by Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos that a conspiracy exists to deny Real Madrid the Primera Division title.
The Blancos duo both claimed after Madrid’s 4-3 clasico defeat to Barcelona last weekend that "someone" wanted to ensure their side did not win the title, and pointed to decisions by referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco in the game as evidence for their belief.
The Argentine coach -- whose side are now top based on their head-to-head record with Real, and lead third-placed Barcelona by a point -- told his pre-training news conference on Tuesday that the idea that someone was out to get the Bernabeu outfit was not serious.
"The comments from Sergio Ramos and Cristiano made me laugh," Simeone said. "[Madrid and Barcelona] hold all the cards."
Simeone -- who won the 1995-96 Primera title as an Atletico player -- was more serious when maintaining his "game by game," mantra even though his side are now top of the Liga table with just nine games to play.
"If there were two or three games left it would be different," he continued. "We must win them and all and that is very difficult. We must go from game to game because I see we have expectations, dreams.
"Nine games to go is a lot. Reality says that in 40 years [Atletico] have been champions just once. To talk about this situation you must be in the same place in five games' time."
With Los Colchoneros facing tough trips to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday in La Liga, and then to Barcelona in the Champions League next Tuesday, Simeone is expected to rotate his side for the game against relegation-threatened Granada.
First choice left-back Filipe Luis is suspended, so back-up Emiliano Insua will come in, while other options to freshen up the team which won 2-0 at Real Betis on Sunday include attacker David Villa, and midfielders Tiago, Diego Ribas and Jose Sosa.
"There are some things to be decided," he added. "I have a general idea of how we are going to play, but we will see after training tomorrow.
"I have no commitments to anyone, we just aspire to be competitive in each game. In this last stage the team will have to rotate and look for alternatives to play every three days. I trust a lot in this kids who will have an opportunity."