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Valverde believes Real Madrid are leading the La Liga title hunt

Speaking to Marca, Valverde was asked about the favourites for this season’s La Liga title and he happened to mention Los Blancos, who he believes are strong and very focused on winning the league. Meanwhile, Valverde said that he has no ill feelings towards the Blaugrana after his sacking and feels he was responsible for the poor run of results before he was dismissed from the helm.

He told: “Madrid are strong and very focused on LaLiga. I was incredibly fortunate to coach Barcelona. I know what it means to coach there and I am delighted to have been there. When you sign the contact, you know that you depend on results and that the coach is always responsible. I don't feel I was unfairly treated. I understand why you would ask that, but I try to turn over the page and not go back over things. I want to look forward.”

Barcelona only managed to win the league title last season and that was considered as only a decent
season by their standards, given they have grown accustomed to winning the Copa del Rey alongside. Should they retain their league title this season, they won’t be able to win a domestic double, given they were ousted by Athletic Bilbao during the quarter-final phase of the Cup competition after an injury-time own goal conceded by Sergio Busquets.

Still, they have the Champions League to play for but they have plenty of competition to beat in order to win the European crown for the first time since 2015. The Catalan giants have not reached the final since beating Juventus to the trophy more than four-and-a-half years ago.