Malaga winger Santi Cazorla believes Barcelona should still be considered the best team in world football despite their exit from the Champions League last week and the fact they are on the verge of handing over their Liga title to rivals Real Madrid.
Los Blancos can be crowned champions of Spain on Wednesday if they claim all three points versus Athletic Bilbao but Cazorla, who will come face-to-face with Barca on the same night, claims Pep Guardiola's men are still the team to beat.
"We expect a tough match. Barca are the best footballing team around. We have to play a great game if we are to score and we have the example of what happened at the Santiago Bernabeu [1-1 draw] where we stood up to a big side," Cazorla told reporters at a press conference.
The game against the Blaugrana is vitally important for Malaga who are attempting to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history.
The Andalusians are currently fourth, level with Valencia who are third only on goal difference and Cazorla is refusing to get carried away.
"We are in the final stretch and after an important victory against Valencia, we now face two tough away games against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Hopefully we can finish at our best and make the last push," he added.
"You have to go game by game and depend on ourselves and not be looking at anybody else. We have many beautiful things to achieve.
"The rivals will be there, there are nine points to play for. Not only is there Valencia, Levante will also be there until the end. Atletico are also having a great time and we still have to go there."
Cazorla became Malaga's most expensive signing when he joined from the Yellow Submarine last summer for €21 million.