They won't go public, but Real Madrid players and officials are convinced they're now favourites for the Liga title. After Barcelona's shock defeat to Atletico Madrid last night, Real are convinced they can haul in the Primera leaders.

Real president Florentino Perez watched the game with GM Jorge Valdano on TV last night and they both quietly celebrated afterwards. Real chiefs know they have a massive advantage in the second-half of the season, with Barca, Sevilla, Valencia and Atletico all having to come to the Bernabeu.

One Real official told AS: "We know the Liga is in our hands. The April 10 game (against Barca) will be decisive."