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The Argentine coach is a massive fan of Barcelona's footballing philosophy but he concedes that Los Blancos have been the dominant side in Spain over the past nine months

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa has refused to discuss whether Real Madrid are better than rivals Barcelona, but admitted that Jose Mourinho's men have been the best team in La Liga this season and will be worthy champions.

The Argentine has a close relationship with Pep Guardiola and is a huge admirer of the Catalans' football philosophy.

Bielsa conceded, though, that Barcelona have come off second best to Madrid in Spain this season, as Los Blancos are poised to clinch the title with a victory at San Mames on Wednesday night.

"In terms of evaluating whether or not they are better than Barcelona, there are a lot of aspects which each person can interpret differently," he told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. "But, of course, Real Madrid will win the title with all merit and justice."

Bielsa added that he is looking forward to seeing how his players, who have drawn so much praise during their stirring run to the final of the Europa League, fare against Madrid.

"Being measured against the best team in the league is always a good challenge," he mused.

"We cannot ignore the superiority of the rival, but we are excited and eager to test ourselves against an opponent that will surely be champions."

Athletic's crunch clash with Madrid in Basque country gets under way at 22.00CET.

Starting last month and continuing for 10 weeks, Goal.com is publishing exclusive extracts from Luca Caioli's new book, Ronaldo: The Obsession for Perfection. The sixth extract, published on Friday, looks at his display for Man Utd in the 2008 Champions League final against Chelsea in Moscow, including the Portuguese's missed penalty in the shoot-out. Don't miss it!

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