Spain’s La Liga: Atletico, Real Madrid head into tense final day

Atletico can be crowned league winners with a final-day win but Real also in contention.

Atletico Madrid can win its first league title in seven years with a victory at Valladolid [Sergio Perez/Reuters]

Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid enter the final day of the Spanish league on Saturday with the title up for grabs between the crosstown rivals.

Atletico Madrid can win their first league title in seven years with a victory at Valladolid.

Real Madrid need Atletico to stumble for it to retain the crown with a victory over Villarreal.

Going into the final day, Atletico lead Madrid by two points, while Madrid hold the tiebreaker if they finish level on points.

“It’s a final with two teams fighting for different objectives but objectives that are very important for both and we will give up our lives to get this objective,” said Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid head coach.

“We have worked all week focusing on the game against Valladolid. We will look to play this match as we have always done against a rival that has its needs [to avoid relegation]. We will try and take the game to where we can harm them.”

“At the end of the season, you have two teams that are fighting for the title. Three teams fighting for staying up and three fighting for the Europa League. This is the Spanish league.”

Victory for Simeone’s side would secure the first title for Atletico since 2014.

Meanwhile, Eden Hazard will miss Real Madrid’s Spanish league finale.

Hazard was not included in the squad for the home match against Villarreal. However, captain Sergio Ramos will be back in the squad after recovering from an injury that has kept him out since March.

Hazard missed a big part of the season because of injuries but had been playing regularly recently.

“It’s nothing major but we don’t want to take any risks,” said Zidane, who denied media reports this week that he had told his players he would be stepping down from his second stint as boss of Real after Saturday’s finale.

Meanwhile, one team not in contention for the La Liga title is Barcelona for which captain Lionel Messi has been given permission to skip the last game at already relegated Eibar.

Coach Ronald Koeman’s future is in doubt after his team’s poor finish to the campaign, while Messi has yet to reveal his plans for when his contract expires at the end of the month.

Koeman said on Friday he “wants to continue” as Barcelona coach next season but acknowledges his fate lies in the hands of club president Joan Laporta.

The Camp Nou axe appears to be hovering over the Dutch manager according to the Catalan press whose successes – including winning round Messi as well as lifting the Copa del Rey and overseeing a year of transition – may not save him from the sack.

Source: News Agencies