Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno has underscored the importance of defeating Barcelona in el Clasico later this month but believes that the game will not be decisive as far as winning the championship is concerned.
Madrid are currently in pole position in the Primera Division, with Barca second, and Butragueno wants los Blancos to maintain the top spot after this weekend’s round of matches.
"We have two games before the Clasico; the first against Athletic and then against Ajax [in the Champions League],” Butragueno told Madrid’s official website.
“The Ajax match isn't decisive but it is important if we want to finish top of the group.
”Being top heading into the Camp Nou can be encouraging. The league will not be over after the Barcelona match, although last year the two games nearly decided La Liga. We must be aware of the smallest of details."
He continued: "Everything right now is quite even. Real Madrid are much more competitive than in recent years and Barcelona are playing great with practically the same group of players.
“The two teams are among the best in the world and I think they are also the two favorites to win the Champions League.
"If both teams maintain their form and there are no major surprises, I believe La Liga will be between Real Madrid and Barcelona."
He added: "The team must continue improving because there is tremendous potential and I am sure Mourinho can bring out the best in each player.
“Every match is an opportunity for growth and maturation."