Barcelona may be 11 points ahead of its nearest rival, 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.

The Argentinian is taking nothing for granted as Barcelona prepares to face one of the toughest trips in the Spanish League when it visits fourth-placed Malaga on Sunday.

“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.

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

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

Former Barcelona forward Javier Saviola, now with Malaga, recognises it will be big games for him.

“They will be special for me personally and on a football level. They are a powerful and very technical team and any draw against a big club is good, but we'll be going out to win,” said the Argentine.

Second-placed Atletico also reached the quarterfinals in midweek and welcomed back top-scorer Radamel Falcao who it 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 its own stadium.

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

Ronaldo not available

Five of those have come from Cristiano Ronaldo who will not be available for the game due to a suspension for an accumulation of cards.

Ronaldo was quick to call for unity from all at the club on Wednesday after his hat-trick eased his team into the quarterfinals of the Cup with a 4-0 win over Celta Vigo.

And now the tension caused by Jose Mourinho’s decision to leave captain Iker Casillas out of the last two league games has ended with the goalkeeper expected to continue in place of the suspended Antonio Adan at Osasuna. — AFP

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