Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas has played down the significance of Saturday's top-of-the-table clash with Atletico Madrid, claiming it will have little impact on the Liga title race.
The Blaugrana lead the table on goal difference from Diego Simeone's men but the Spain international believes the match serves as a momentum booster rather than a clear indicator as to who will be crowned champions come May.
“It's not a game that will decide the league, but will give the winner confidence to win,” Fabregas told Sports Four.
The Catalans will be buoyed by the inclusion of Lionel Messi, who returned to action on Wednesday with two late goals as a second-half substitute in the 4-0 Copa del Rey win over Getafe.
However, Fabregas does not believe that the Argentine's impressive return makes Barcelona clear favourites, as he is extremely wary of the threat posed by Atletico – and, in particular, the talents of star striker Diego Costa.
“Atletico play together, pressing the attack," the former Arsenal skipper mused. "And Diego Costa is on a great run and scoring lots of goals.”
Both Atletico and Barcelona have dropped just five points so far and whoever wins will take their tally to a record-breaking 52 points at the halfway stage of the season.