Madrid, May 21 (IANS) Although the destiny of the La Liga title was decided a week ago, the final round of games in the Spanish football league arrives on Saturday with several issues still to be resolved.
Last weekend saw FC Barcelona crowned as champions ahead of Real Madrid. Barcelona’s match at home against relegation threatened Deportivo La Coruna will become a homage to veteran captain Xavi Hernandez, who will make his last league appearance for the club, reports Xinhua.
Deportivo are not in Barcelona to enjoy as Victor Sanchez’s side only have a two-point cushion over the relegation places and the battle to avoid the drop is one of the big issues of the day as four sides battle to avoid two relegation spots.
Eibar, Almeria, Deportivo and Granada are all in the mix with Eibar having perhaps the easiest game as they entertain Cordoba, who have already been relegated.
However, the Basque side’s record of just one win in their last 19 games does not give grounds for optimism, while Granada, who have won their last three matches, will be confident of taking the point they need at home against 2013 champions Atletico Madrid.
Almeria meanwhile entertain Valencia knowing they have to win given that the Tribunal for Arbitration in Sport will not decide until next week whether or not the club will be docked three points for late payment for a player.
To add further spice to the mix both Atletico and Valencia are in a battle to finish third in the table and thus assure direct qualification for the group stage of next season’s Champions League.
Atletico have a three-point advantage over Valencia and a draw would be enough to assure that third place finish, but the fact both have something to play for is bad news for Granada and Almeria.
The other issue to be settled is who will finish seventh in the table with Athletic Club Bilbao and Malaga involved. Seventh place will assure King’s Cup finalists, Athletic a place in Europa League for next season.
Malaga would only play in Europe if they finish seventh and Athletic lose the Cup Final to Barcelona.
Athletic are at home against Villarreal, while Malaga, whose recent form has been disastrous with just one win in 10 matches, entertain Sevilla, who may have one eye cast on next week’s Europa League final.
The remaining games have little at stake other than pride as Rayo Vallecano entertain Real Sociedad, Celta and Espanyol can both be satisfied with their campaigns, and Levante and Elche celebrating a hard- fought season avoiding relegation.
Finally there are plenty of question marks over 2014 champions Real’s home game against Getafe: will it be coach Carlo Ancelotti’s final game after failing to win either the Cup, league or Champions League?
Could Iker Casillas be making his last appearance for the club and what about winger Gareth Bale and star striker Cristiano Ronaldo? Questions which won’t be answered on Sunday perhaps, but which must wait for an answer in the coming weeks.