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The 50-year-old believes Diego Simeone's men could challenge the duopoly in Spain for the title following a stunning start to the season

Gerardo Martino insists Atletico Madrid have joined Barcelona and Real Madrid as title contenders in La Liga.

Diego Simeone's side have begun the season with eight consecutive wins, one of which came in the Madrid derby at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Barcelona, who have also had a perfect start after eight games, do not face Atletico until January 11, but Martino is aware of the threat from Simeone's men.

“There are three teams that can win this league, but hardly anyone agrees with me,” he told reporters.

“I got a good look at Atletico in the Supercopa.”

Meanwhile, the first Clasico of the season was announced on Monday, but Martino insists the team are not thinking about that encounter yet.

“We have matches against Osasuna and Milan first. The games we have coming up before the Clasico are important," he added.

“I don’t know if [Messi] will be back for the game against Osasuna. We shouldn’t take risks, and keep an eye on what’s next. But Jordi Alba and [Javier] Mascherano will be there.

“[Puyol’s] knee is responding well. If everything is fine at the end of the week, he’ll be ready for [the match against Osasuna in] Pamplona.”

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