'Don't bet against Messi' - Crespo tips Barcelona for Liga glory

The Argentine lauds his compatriot, predicting that the Catalans will top the Primera Division, and thinks that either they, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich will conquer Europe
By Alberto Pinero Hernan Crespo expects his compatriot, Lionel Messi, to guide Barcelona to glory in La Liga ahead of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

The Catalans currently sit one point behind Los Rojiblancos, with whom they drew 1-1 in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday, with seven games to go in the Primera Division.

Real Madrid held the upper hand until back-to-back losses towards the end of March saw them drop to third in the title race and the Argentine attacker feels that their defeat to Barca, in particular, could cost Carlo Ancelotti's men.

"Real Madrid came into the Clasico better than Barcelona and lost," Crespo told Goal. "I don't have enough courage to bet against Lionel Messi in the title race."

The ex-Inter and Chelsea forward also muses that Madrid, Barca and Bayern Munich are joint-favourites for European glory this campaign, expressing that such massive clubs will always have the psychological advantage.

"Except when they face each other, Real Madrid and Barcelona are always the favourites against their rivals," Crespo continued. "In this case, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. It is always so!

"The future of Barcelona depends on Madrid battles, what with that past Clasico against Real and the tie against Atletico on the final day of the season.

"Madrid and Barcelona are the favourites to win the Champions League alongside holders Bayern Munich. These are the three formations that will win it as they are the strongest of all the remaining teams."

Bayern were held to a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in their first-leg quarter-final on Tuesday, while Real Madrid host the opening tie of their clash with Dortmund on Wednesday.