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Barcelona’s Champions League defence continues in the last 16 against Stuttgart – see all the betting here.

Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain has played down the penalty row between team-mates Xabi Alonso and Cristiano Ronaldo during the 6-2 win over Villarreal.

The pair appeared to disagree over who should take the penalty that resulted in Madrid’s sixth goal before Alonso eventually converted it.

The exchange between the two was later broadcast by Canal+ but Higuain is not reading too much into it.

“These are circumstances of the game,” he said. “Xabi had the vision of scoring his first goal for Madrid and nothing more.”

Higuain was principal penalty taker last year but is not unduly disappointed about losing the role.

“If I’m called upon then I’ll take it, but the takers are as previously designated,” he said. “Kaka takes them very well, has not missed any, and so do Cristiano, Raul… and Xabi did very well.”

Nonetheless, Higuain has been in a rich vein of form this year, leading the Real scoring charts with 14 so far in La Liga.

“Scoring makes me very happy,” he said the official Real Madrid website. “I try to grow as a player and person every year. I have improved a lot over the last three years, but there is still room for growth.

“Finishing as the league’s top scorer would be incredible, but my goal, which I stated at the start of the season, is to do better than last year.”

Madrid are two points behind Barcelona in the table with a home game against the champions still to come, while their Champions League challenge is also still alive despite losing 1-0 at Lyon in the first leg of their last-16 tie last week.

“We control our own destiny in both competitions, but both will be very difficult to win,” Higuain said. “There is a long way to go. Winning would be a dream come true for us and this great project.

“We are playing the way we should. This is a crucial point of the season and we are two points off the lead in La Liga. We need to stay focused and be in top form for the second leg of the Champions League against Lyon.”

Barcelona’s Champions League defence continues in the last 16 against Stuttgart – see all the betting here.

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