Johan Cruyff unperturbed by Real Madrid's six-point lead over Barcelona & believes Xavi deserves the Fifa Ballon d'Or

The Dutchman is bemused by claims that his former club have fallen too far behind in the Spanish title race and is confident that Pep Guardiola's men will turn things around
Johan Cruyff ridiculed suggestions that Barcelona have no chance of winning La Liga this season.

The Netherlands legend saw his former club slip six points behind leaders Real Madrid following Saturday’s surprise 1-0 defeat at Getafe.

Cruyff, though, believes that reports of Barca’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

“It seems that most people do not see the games and do not know of the quality of Barcelona,” he is quoted as saying by Sport.

"One thing I can assure is that the league championship does not finish on December 30 but late May. There are [still] five titles that the club [Barca] can win.”

Cruyff also argued that it is Xavi and not his Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi who should land this year’s Fifa Ballon d'Or.

"Choosing the best player goes by taste, not positions,” the former Barcelona forward said.

“Messi, in his category and in the things he does, is exceptional in every way, [and] has won it a couple of times. But if Messi has won twice, Xavi deserves it now.

“[It is] not because he is better; that is absurd, since it would be the same with Cristiano [Ronaldo] and Messi - you cannot compare.

"Everything depends on how you look at football, and you can also add [Andres] Iniesta. They are different players with different roles who are all entitled to win.

“Luckily, I do not have to vote!"

Cruyff is a legendary figure at the Camp Nou, having played five seasons with Barcelona during his stint as a player before leading the Catalans to their first European Cup success in 1992 during his eight-year tenure as manager.

Starting last week and continuing every Friday through to January, will publish extracts from Graham Hunter's highly-anticipated book, Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World. Friday's second extract was about how Joan Laporta and Sandro Rosell used David Beckham as a vote-winner in the club elections of 2003, even though a deal was already done between Manchester United and Real Madrid.