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Guardiola congratulates Real Madrid on La Liga title

Pep Guardiola has conceded the title to Real Madrid - even going so far as congratulating Barcelona's arch rivals on winning La Liga after Cristiano Ronaldo's winner sent Madrid seven points clear at the top of the table.

Real's victory was their first in eight La Liga El Clasico fixtures and saw Barca suffer their first home defeat in 55 games.

"We have to congratulate Madrid for their win and the title that they have also won tonight," said the Barcelona coach.

"We created chances but it was not our night, sometimes that happens against such a good opponent as Madrid."

Iker Casillas, Mardid's captain, said: "Although there are still points at stake and we must be respectful, we have taken a giant step.

"We played as a team. Cristiano did a fine job but all 11 did well. We worked well from start to finish although we suffered when they equalised. But we responded and got the win."

'Significant blow'

Real midfielder Xabi Alonso added: "We have struck a very significant blow but it's not yet decisive. Of course it's an important step towards the title but now we have to see it home.

"Cristiano's goal, coming straight after they levelled, broke their stride and that was fundamental.

"We controlled the match perfectly. It was a great performance, a fantastic result and I am very happy."

Guardiola now wants his team to make up for their shortcomings in La Liga with victory in the Champions League, but they could yet lose out to Madrid again, even if Barca manage to overturn Chelsea's 1-0 semi-final first leg win.

"We're not going to retain the league title, and now we have to focus on the Champions League," added Guardiola.

"It won't be simple, we have to find the way to attack Chelsea, and we have to try and forget today's game."

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