Atletico Madrid have shown that they deserve to be taken seriously in the Liga title race, according to Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino.
Diego Simeone's side played out a 0-0 draw with Barca on Saturday in the Spanish capital, in a contest that failed to live up to its pre-match hype.
However, Atletico emerged from the game with significant credit, having tested their opponents on several occasions and created the best chance of the match.
Diego Costa ultimately spurned that, turning wide from close range, but in the end the hosts were full value for their draw.
Simeone's men remain just behind Barca at the top of the table only on goal difference and Martino was suitably impressed.
"I think Atletico are going to fight for La Liga as they have done until now," Martino said.
Barcelona defender Dani Alves agreed with the assessment of his coach, insisting that it was a valuable point for the Catalan giants.
"Atleti showed that they are candidates for the title. Both sides can feel happy with gaining a point here," Alves added.comments