La Liga Preview: End of an era at Barcelona, UCL spots up for grabs

As the curtain draws on La Liga for yet another season, Azeem Siddiqui previews the final round of fixtures.

La Liga finally comes to a conclusion this weekend and after much speculation about whether the last two weeks would be suspended. The La Liga title may already be decided, however, there are still a Champions League places and the final Europa League spot which have yet to be finalised. With that said, here are few things to look out for in this final weekend of Primera Division action.

Seville or Valencia, who will finish 4th?

Valencia need a win against Almeria to secure Champions League football next season. Source: Getty Images.

The UEFA Champions League qualification round is up for grabs both for Valencia and Seville, where just a point separates the two on the 4th and 5th position. A win against Almeria will ensure that Valencia will play at least in the qualification round of Europe’s elite club tournament, or better, could even propel them above Atletico (provided that they lose). A draw or a defeat, on the other hand, would open gates for Sevilla to potentially show off and qualify for the Champions League twice, who have to win a tough one against Malaga at La Rosaleda.

Two spots up for grabs in the relegation battle – who will avoid it?

Atletico

With the last day of league shaping up, it’s still anybody’s guess who is going to follow Cordoba into the footsteps of relegation, with only two points separating Granada, Deportivo La Coruna, Eibar & Almeria. Eibar has the easiest of the fixtures out of all the other three teams as they take on the already relegated Cordoba. And it seems Deportivo and Granada both would do well if either someone managed to avoid slipping into to the 2nd division. The former will take on the newly-crowned Spanish champions, Barcelona, at the Camp Nou will the latter will take on the former champions Atletico Madrid, who are also looking to secure Champions League football.

Fight for the Pichichi

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

The rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi remains a pivotal talking point as La Liga draws to a close. With Messi eyeing a third Treble with Barca and a potential Ballon d’Or award next year,  the battle for the league’s top scorer will come down to the wire. Four goals currently separate the two players, but with Barca playing Deportivo, scoring a hat-trick, perhaps even a double hat-trick, shouldn’t be unimaginable.

Carlo Ancelotti’s final match?

Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti will most probably manage the Los Blancos for the last time after a trophy-less season at the club. He came under huge criticism following a dismal week, where Madrid held to 2-2 & 1-1 draw at home in must-win matches against Valencia & Juventas that not only ended the club’s La Liga hopes, but also back-to-back Champions League dreams.

Xavi’s farewell

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Barcelona will bid farewell to one of the greatest midfielders, not only in their club history but of his generation with a rout against Deportivo. Xavi had earlier announced that he would leave Barcelona at the end of the season and will join Qatari football club, Al Sadd. The 35-year-old has enjoyed an illustrious career in Barcelona, in which he appeared in more than 760 matches, scoring 84 goals and won 23 titles for Barcelona, including eight La Liga crowns.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com

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