New Delhi: Toni Kroos, the star midfielder of Real Madrid, urged his side to push for the El Clasico win against arch-rivals FC Barcelona to keep their Spanish La Liga title hopes alive.

“The season is still long. We are 11 points and one match behind, but are still within striking distance,” the German told Bild.

“Yet to keep the title race open we had better win that match,” Kroos added.

Real are fourth in the points table with just 31 points in their bag to Barcelona’s 42. Barca sit pretty at the top of the tree with second-placed Atletico Madrid also six points behind them.

Another subplot to the much-awaited derby is always the rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi which will be renewed following the former winning the 2017 Ballon d’Or to draw level with Messi’s haul of five.

“Football subsists on the rivalry. It pushes both teams and also both players,” Kroos said. “This can only be good for us.

“You don’t need to say much about Ronaldo and Messi. They are both one of a kind, extraordinary players and hard to compare. They are different types of players.

“Cristiano more than deserves the latest accolades. Especially in the Champions League, he again scored the crucial goals.” (With IANS inputs)