La Liga

Guardiola rules out catching Real Madrid

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Josep Guardiola: 'Almost impossible' to catch Real Madrid in La Liga.
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Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola thinks his team's chances of catching Real Madrid are slim despite the the defending champions being in striking distance following the Spanish leaders' recent stumbles.

Guardiola says ''in the history of the league no one has ever come back from 10 points behind to beat Madrid'' and ''therefore it is almost impossible for us to be champions.''

Madrid's third draw in five games on Sunday left it four points clear of Barcelona with seven rounds to play.

Madrid visits Atletico Madrid in a Spanish capital derby on Wednesday and travels to Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium two games later.

Guardiola says ''some take for granted we will beat them. If so, you are confused.''

Barcelona defender Adriano insists the players never gave up hope of chasing down Real Madrid at the top of the table.

Barcelona have the chance to close the gap at the top to just a point with victory at home to Getafe on Tuesday before Real play on Wednesday.

And Adriano said their current hot streak had re-invigorated the side.

"We've always believed that we'd have a chance at the La Liga title and now we're only four points behind them," said the Brazilian, who has enjoyed more appearances at left-back recently because of Eric Abidal's absence as he awaits a liver transplant.

"If we continue on this path, we'll be able to win.

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"The team have had a lot of injuries this season and we've put in a strong effort to be where we are now.

"I'm currently going through my best moment this season. I've lost weight and I feel much better.

"Now it's time to take care of myself and play the remaining matches."

The home side will be without suspended midfielder Cesc Fabregas while right-back Dani Alves is a doubt after straining a thigh muscle in the weekend's victory over Real Zaragoza, which center back Gerard Pique missed through injury.

Martin Montoya replaced Alves at the weekend for his 10th appearance of the season and Adriano was full of praise for the 20-year-old youth team graduate.

"I've always really liked Montoya, ever since he did his first pre-season with the team," he told fcbarcelona.com.

"I think he brings a lot to the team. It was noticeable at La Romareda (against Zaragoza) because the team stayed at the same level when Alves was subbed out."

Getafe are in 10th place, just a point off qualifying for the Europa League, and only two weeks ago beat third-placed Valencia.

They have won four of their last six matches but captain Jaime Gavilan has no illusions about their trip to the Nou Camp.

"It will be a very difficult meeting. We have to be lucky and have a perfect match," he told Marca.

On the seemingly unstoppable Lionel Messi, who has scored 38 goals in just 30 league games, he added: "We know what he can do. Take 38 goals, says it all.

"It is a level above anyone and is what makes the difference in probably the best team in the world."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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