Barcelona can put an end to La Liga’s title race with victory at defending champions Atletico Madrid on Sunday, but build-up to the competition’s penultimate round of fixtures has been dominated by off-field wranglings over the distribution of television money.
Last week, the Spanish Football Federation announced plans to suspend all domestic football from May 16 over an ongoing dispute with the government.
The strike subsequently earned the support of the Spanish players’ union, but was challenged by the Liga de Futbol Profesional before the High Court found in the league’s favour on Thursday.
That decision paved the way for the final two rounds of the season, as well as the Copa del Rey final between Barca and Athletic Bilbao, to go ahead as planned.
For the Catalan giants, that means a chance to pick up their first silverware of the season, having secured their place in the UEFA Champions League final with a 5-3 aggregate victory over Bayern Munich in midweek.
Sunday’s fixture comes exactly a year after Atleti clinched their first league title in 18 years with a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou.
Barca are four points clear of second-placed Real Madrid and will be crowned Spanish champions for the 23rd time with three points.
A draw would be enough if Real do likewise at Espanyol, while defeat for Carlo Ancelotti’s men would hand the trophy to Luis Enrique’s side regardless of the result at the Vicente Calderon.
Real will be desperate to bounce back from the midweek disappointment of their Champions League semi-final elimination at the hands of Juventus.
Valencia host Celta Vigo hoping to fend off the challenge of Sevilla and cling onto the fourth Champions League spot, while Villarreal are already assured of UEFA Europa League football ahead of their clash with Malaga.
At the other end of the table, Cordoba – who take on Rayo Vallecano – are already relegated, but the fight for survival is heading for a thrilling conclusion above them.
Granada have boosted their chances of remaining in the top flight with back-to-back wins and head to Real Sociedad this weekend, while free-falling Eibar visit Getafe, who would be safe with a win.
Two consecutive draws for Deportivo La Coruna have kept Granada in the bottom three on head-to-head record, with Victor Sanchez’s men hosting Levante on Sunday, while Almeria will have to put in some performance to better their chances of survival at Europa League finalists Sevilla.
In the weekend’s remaining fixture, Elche play host to Athletic Bilbao.