MADRID: Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are separated by two points with one game to play.
In Spain, Atletico Madrid are on the verge of winning their first league title for seven years but arch-rivals Real Madrid are waiting to pounce if they slip up.
Two teams separated by two points with one game to play. One thing already certain before Saturday’s title-deciding games is the crown will be staying in Spain’s capital.
With Barcelona out of the running, will leaders Atletico hold on or can Real, the defending champions, steal it at the death? A win for Atletico at relegation-threatened Real Valladolid will secure a first league title since 2014 – and second under Diego Simeone, who has managed them since 2011.
Anything less opens the door for neighbours Real, who entertain Unai Emery’s Villarreal – Manchester United’s Europa League final opponents next Wednesday.
Atletico have 83 points but a last-day draw and a Real win would ensure both Madrid clubs finish on 84 points. With head-to-head record – instead of goal difference – then coming into play, Real would be crowned kings of Spain as they have taken four points off Atletico in their two meetings in 2020-21.
“It’s a final against Valladolid, with two sides fighting for their own different, but important, objectives and we will both give absolutely everything they’ve got to achieve it,” said Simeone.
Atletico hope Luis Suarez will help them over the line. The former Liverpool forward has 20 goals in 31 La Liga appearances since joining from Barcelona last September.
However, Real are unbeaten in 17 league games, their best La Liga run within the same season since March 2014 under Carlo Ancelotti.
Yet despite Karim Benzema’s 22 league goals, Real face the bleak prospect of ending the season without a trophy after their Champions League semi-final exit to Chelsea and a humiliating early elimination from the Copa del Rey.
With both Atletico and Real’s games kicking off at 18:00 SAST, it points to an exciting end to the season.