Courtois: CL qualification first

Atletico Madrid 'keeper Thibaut Courtois isn't ruling out a title tilt, but says Champions League qualification must be the first priority.

Diego Simeone's side racked up their twelfth win in a row in all competitions when they defeated Osasuna 3-1 yesterday, and are still level on points with Barcelona at the summit of La Liga.

“We are now near Barcelona in first,” the Belgian custodian said in an appearance at the club's shop in Alcorcoron. “I think Barca and Real Madrid always fight for the title.

“With each game, our objective is the Champions League. If we can fight to be champions fine, but the first thing is to qualify for the Champions League.

“It was an important game [against Osasuna]. Valencia and Athletic Bilbao lost and Valencia are now 14 points behind us, which is good. Having that advantage gives us tranquility.”

The Chelsea-owned 20-year-old also fielded questions on teammate Radamel Falcao, who was today shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

“There are many good players and at the moment, Falcao is one of the best. He has scored many important goals, not just in the league. But Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Andres Iniesta could also win.”

Courtois ended by discussing Simeone's rotation policy, in light of the Rojiblancos visit to Real Jaen in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

“We have a very good squad and it's OK for the Coach to change the team. That way we rest. Last year we played on the Europa League on Thursdays and La Liga on Sundays and sometimes it's very hard, it cost us points in the league.”

Tags Courtois Falcao Real Jaen Simeone