Real Madrid would have more titles than Barcelona were it not for Lionel Messi according to Sergio Ramos.
The Spaniard is expected be absent for this weekend’s El Clasico as the two heavyweights try and hunt down Atletico Madrid in the La Liga title race.
Ramos joined Los Blancos in 2005, but he has spent much of his time watching Barcelona scoop numerous trophies.
The Catalans enjoyed the trophy-laden period of dominance whilst Pep Guardiola was in charge.
Success continued to follow after his departure however with Tito Vilanova, Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde all winning honours.
Ramos has won five La Liga titles during his Madrid career, but in the same time period Barcelona have won eight as well as several domestic cups.
The centre-half puts much of their success down to Messi, whose quality has resulted in tension within the Madrid camp.
He told his documentary series ‘The Legend of Sergio Ramos’ : “We’ve suffered against Messi during these years.
“Perhaps if Barcelona didn’t have him, we would have won more titles.
“There was a time when we faced the best Barcelona in history. We had a great coach like [Jose] Mourinho, but it was hard for us to beat them.
“We didn’t win much and there was a lot of tension, caused by either them or by us.”
Barcelona now are in the midst of a rebuild and are sweating on a decision from Messi about his future.
Los Blancos too are in a transitional phase with Zinedine Zidane’s contract up in the summer.
Barcelona are just one point behind Atletico in the title race with Madrid a further two points back.
A win for either side will see them take over as leaders, at least temporarily, with Diego Simeone’s side not playing until the following day.