The Rojiblancos have charged up the Primera Division table following an unbeaten start to the season, and the Blaugrana stopper claims they have proven their title credentialsBarcelona defender Gerard Pique has voiced his belief that Atletico Madrid are ready to fight for La Liga while Radamel Falcao is firing in the goals.
The capital outfit are joint-second in the Spanish top flight with the Catalan giants after winning eight of their first nine fixtures to position them level on points at the summit.
Now, the Spain international has acknowledged their rivals' strong form and expects them to maintain their title challenge for the remainder of the campaign.
"Atletico can win the league," Pique told Intena 3. "Falcao's team are very much in the reckoning."
Pique then reiterated his support for Lionel Messi, who is set to lock horns with Cristiano Ronaldo in the battle to be crowned the recipient of the 2012 Ballon d'Or.
"You get more recognition for the Ballon d'Or as an attacker rather than a defender," he added. "Leo and Cristiano are in contention, but I think Messi will win."