Sergio Ramos: Barcelona have lost their fear factor

The Spain international is relishing Sunday's "historic" Clasico encounter and claims Cristiano Ronaldo has a "sickness" for football
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos believes teams no longer fear Barcelona as they once did.

The Blaugrana have come in for criticism from some quarters this season after disappointing defeats to Valladolid and Real Sociedad and a perceived change in style under coach Gerardo Martino.

Ramos insists talk of a crisis at Camp Nou is far too premature given that Barca are still in the hunt for three trophies, but he claims the side have lost some of their fear factor ahead of Sunday's Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"They talk of a crisis at Barca but they're in the Copa del Rey final, the quarter-finals of the Champions League and they're just four points off the lead in La Liga," Ramos told AS. "What has changed at Barca is that fear teams had.

"It would be a major blow to the table if we win. The Clasico is different, it's a global and historic rivalry."

Madrid have gone a 30-game unbeaten run since the defeat to Barcelona in the reverse fixture in the autumn and Ramos has been quick to credit coach Carlo Ancelotti for implementing a style and self-belief in the side.

"I'm in a good spell of form and I hope to maintain it until the end of the season. At the start of the season we had less clear ideas. Now Real Madrid has found a stability and a very good level and we'll try to maintain it," he continued.

"For us it's a tremendous pleasure to have Ancelotti as coach because he was also a player and knows that feeling. There are many coaches who have not been lucky enough to have that feeling that we have in matches. Although he seems quiet, he is a man who commands respect."

Cristiano Ronaldo has been in sensational form this season, and Ramos has claimed the Ballon d'Or winner has a "sickness" for football which helps drive him to new heights.

"He has a sickness with football, and for that reason he is the best," he added.