Denying Real Madrid a third Champions League title may force Barcelona to relinquish unbeaten La Liga run, says Terry Gibson
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 20/03/18 7:33am
Barcelona's quest to deny Real Madrid a third consecutive Champions League title may see them relinquish their unbeaten La Liga run, according to Terry Gibson.
Ernesto Valverde is on the brink of a glittering end to his first season at the Camp Nou, with Barca 11 points clear at the top of La Liga and with their place in April's Copa del Rey final already secured.
Barca are two games short of Real Sociedad's record 38-game unbeaten run in the Primera Division, and nine games away from navigating the entire season without defeat.
However, with arch-rivals Real able to draw a line under their disappointing domestic campaign with a 13th European crown, Gibson believes the Catalans may be forced to switch priorities.
"Whether Barcelona can remain invincible is a really interesting question," he told the La Liga weekly podcast.
"Barca are at a stage of the season, given their position and points advantage, where they should remain unbeaten.
"If they were not in the Champions League there would be an even better chance - they, of course, have a quarter-final against Roma - so I would be surprised if they went through the season unbeaten.
"It is critical Valverde rotates and is a little bit more sensible to ensure the team remain fresh for the Copa del Rey final and the Champions League fixtures.
"That may interfere with their chances of going undefeated for the rest of the season. It may not as they have a big, healthy, quality squad, but it may have an impact.
"To avoid defeat in the last nine games is doable, but the Champions League may be the bigger picture.
"Barca are on course to win the league and the Copa del Rey, but if Real Madrid win the Champions League the celebrations at the end of the season will all be about Real winning three in a row.
"Barca won't be content winning La Liga and the Copa del Rey, with the league already sewn up, the Champions League is now the bigger prize."
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