Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira believes that he is still a key part of Jose Mourinho's squad despite the summer signing of Michael Essien.
The Germany international has not been a first team regular in the Spanish capital since the arrival of Essien from Chelsea, but he still feels he has much to offer to the reigning Liga champions.
"The coach does not have a bad opinion of me, it is still clear that I remain a part of the staff of this team. I want to show that he can continue to count on me," he told AS.
The 25-year-old has had to contend with stiff competition in the midfield engine room ever since his move to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2010 and he does not see this season as any different to the previous two he has been involved with at the club.
"We've always had four or five defensive midfielders in recent years. This season we Xabi Alonso, Essien and me," he added.
Mourinho's team have struggled for consistency this season and Khedira believes the eight point gap Barcelona currently hold over their famous rivals at the top of the league will be difficult to claw back.
"Lifting the Supercopa against Barcelona was a good sign, but the league is a different competition and we have been left behind," he stated.
The former Stuttgart man also admitted that he wanted to stay at Real for the rest of his career, although playing in the Bundesliga again "would be interesting".