Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba believes they are still the best side in the world despite failing to reach the UEFA Champions League final.
The Catalan club were knocked out at the semi-final stage for the second straight year as they were hammered 7-0 on aggregate by German champions Bayern Munich.
However, although Alba accepts Bayern were the better team over the two legs, he insists Tito Vilanova’s men are still the benchmark for sides looking to join the world’s elite.
“The facts are there. In the last few years Barcelona have been the best in the world, and in my opinion we still are,” the Spain international continued. “I respect the opinion of every team. Barcelona in the last 10 years have won a lot of trophies,” he said.
“I’d give (this campaign) a very good mark,” he told reporters on Friday. “In the semi-final games maybe we weren’t quite good enough, the 4-0 was painful. Bayern were very good, at the top of their game, and we weren’t good enough.”
The Camp Nou outfit will win their 22nd La Liga
title with a win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday, but Alba feels the league crown does not have the same meaning due to the significant advantage they hold of Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.
“The league appears not to be worth anything because we are so far ahead of Madrid,” he explained.
Still, in spite of that claim, Alba stressed the entire team is focused on obtaining victory against Atletico.
He added: “If we beat Atletico, we’ll be champions, and it doesn’t matter what Real Madrid do. We are focusing on ourselves. This will be my first title and I’m very keen to be league champion.”