Barcelona may be 11 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Atletico Madrid, but Lionel Messi, who this week won his fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or, is keeping his feet on the ground regarding the title race ahead of a trip to fourth-placed Malaga.

“The league is still not resolved, Madrid have made up a similar lead to this in the past, we know that we can’t take anything as won and we must continue without errors or relaxing,” he said.

“I would have liked to have won more titles last year, my goal is always to keep getting better and not be content with what I have, I always say I have to improve everything,” he added, ominously for La Liga defences after finishing 2012 with a record 91 goals.

Barca also have David Villa, who is yet to play a full 90 minutes in the league this season, back in goalscoring form after he hit a double in the 5-0 Spanish Cup win against Cordoba on Thursday.

Malaga were also successful in the cup in midweek, defeating Eibar 4-1 to set up a two-legged quarter-final clash with Sunday’s opponents that will see the two sides meet three times in little over 10 days.

Second-placed Atletico also reached the quarter-finals in midweek and welcomed back top-scorer Radamel Falcao who they missed through injury in the 1-1 league draw at Mallorca last Sunday. The Colombian should be available for the home clash with Zaragoza on Sunday where the side from the capital will look to make it 10 league wins from 10 in their own stadium.

Real Madrid go to bottom club Osasuna having hit eight goals in two wins since their return from the winter break.AFP