Sergio Ramos insists Real Madrid can catch Barcelona in the La Liga table after a 3-1 derby win at Atletico Madrid moved his side up to second in the table.
Ramos scored from the penalty spot in Saturday's victory at the Wanda Metropolitano , netting his 11th goal in all competitions this season, making 2018-19 the best scoring record of his career.
Antoine Griezmann had cancelled out Casemiro's bicycle-kick opener before Ramos struck from 12 yards, with Gareth Bale's 100th Madrid goal wrapping up Madrid's first win at the Wanda.
Madrid is now five points behind Barcelona, although the leader is at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, and captain Ramos declared the title race alive after a fifth successive league win.
"The league is still to be contested," Ramos said, adding, "There are many points in play and any team can complicate your life as it was seen in the first round [of games].
"We have that hope and we will fight for the league and make it difficult for Barcelona even though they have a very important lead.
"Real Madrid played a very, very good match, very complete in all the lines, not only in attack, but also on a defensive level the team left few possibilities to the opponent and I think the result is fair enough.
"They pushed well up and caused us a lot of danger, but the match is 90 minutes and we have to know how to play the time and in that sense Real Madrid made a very smart game."
Madrid will face Barca twice more in the next three weeks, the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal followed by a La Liga clash at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 2.
And former Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois agrees with Ramos that Madrid now has Ernesto Valverde's side in its sights.
"It was a complicated game," Courtois said to Real Madrid TV. "But we knew how to get past the rival, who was not easy at all.
"We put ourselves ahead of them in the table and we'll see how we go to May but now we're very good, with good feelings after the game against Barcelona. We do not feel fatigue."