BENGALURU: The La Liga title race has come down to the wire. Both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid have their eyes on the title with the final round of fixtures set to be played over the weekend. The equation is quite simple for Diego Simeone’s team, who just need to register a win over Real Valladolid at Jose Zorrilla Stadium on Saturday to clinch the title.
With a win, they will finish the season with 86 points, meaning no team will be able to catch them. Though Atletico have just lost four games over the course of the season, Valladolid will not be an easy opponent. Valladolid, who are currently in the relegation zone, can do themselves a favour as they are keen to stay out of the bottom three.
In fact, Real Madrid will be supporting Valladolid. If the latter wins or even draws their fixture, the doors open for Zinedine Zidane’s team to be crowned champions provided they beat Villarreal. If Atletico draw and Real win, both teams will finish on 84 points. With Real having a better head-to-head record, they will take home the title.
Interestingly, in a virtual interaction attended by La Liga ambassadors, including Luis Garcia, Javier Mascherano, Diego Forlan, Fernando Sanz, Gaizka Mendieta among others, consider Atletico to be favourites. With such former greats picking Atletico ahead of Real does not come as a surprise as they have been consistent this season in the league.
“I think Atletico is going to be too strong for Real Valladoid. It should be a great prize for the club, something they have been fighting for in recent seasons,” said Garcia, who believes it would be a perfect prize for all the effort that has been put by Diego Simeone in the last few years. They last won the La Liga title in the 2013-14 season under the Argentinean.
“(If they win), it is a big reward for all their hard work that they have put in the last few years. Simeone has done a great job in the last ten years at the club. He has won one league title already. Recent years have been harder. Atletico were playing well in the previous seasons, they were never really at the top as it was dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona. This year, it does seem, despite the drop in form by all teams at one point in the season, Atletico have managed to keep the pace, organized defence, and got a creative midfield and good strikers. They got the results they need.”
With it being the last game of the season, the next couple of months could be interesting ahead of the next new season. There have been talks about Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona, who could sign Sergio Aguero. Also, there have been talks about Zidane’s exit too. But, when it comes to the Frenchman, Fernando Sanz believes he is the best man for the club.
“Zidane’s done an incredible job. He had to deal with over 60 injuries this season and yet they’ve been contenders until the very end. For me, the best candidate for the managerial job at Real Madrid is always Zidane.”
Meanwhile, Mascherano believes signing Aguero may create “very favorable conditions for Messi to stay”.
Catch La Liga's final day action Live on Facebook Watch