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The 44-year-old has reserved high praise for his side's fierce fierce rival, despite all but clinching the title weeks ago

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova believes his side has beaten off the "finest Real Madrid side in history" as it looks to win the Liga title against Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

The Blaugrana have led the division for much of the season on the back of a blistering start to the campaign, but the 33-year-old is insistent they have not had it all their own away against stiff opposition.

"We had such a tremendous first half to the season that it looked as if it had been won some time ago," Vilanova told reporters. "But I believe there is still life in this league.

"We are fighting against what is said to be the finest Real Madrid side in history, the one that got 100 points. Madrid has had a very good second-half of the season, and if we had let up at all, we would have had problems.

"Getting 100 points is not a trophy in itself, but now that we are not playing matches in midweek, we are going into our games in good shape. If we have a chance, we will go for it."

Speaking about Diego Simeone's Atletico, who themselves are in the hunt for second place in La Liga, Vilanova continued: "I know they’ll want to beat us. It’s always an added motivation to be playing Barca.

"They’ve only let in 10 goals at home and are having an excellent season. They have the cup final to think about, but they have a big enough squad to be able to cope well enough with this match too.

"The aim this Sunday is not for [Lionel] Messi to get to 50 goals; it’s to win the league. But if he can do that as well, then it will be even better."

Barcelona will lift the title in Vilanova's first season in charge with a win, regardless of the result in Madrid's clash against Espanyol,

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