With Real Madrid failing to earn three points Wednesday, the championship for La Liga is now up for grabs between three teams. Real Madrid sits in third place behind the leader Atletico Madrid and Barcelona with two games left in the season. With 88 points, Atletico is in the driver’s seat with Barcelona trailing by three points and Madrid down four points.
Many Spanish league fans have given up on Real Madrid after the 1-1 draw in yesterdays game against Real Valladolid. Madrid needed the full three points for a win to move into second place and improve the teams odds for taking the championship from Atletico. However, mathematically, Madrid still has a chance at the championship.
All of the three top teams have two more games. With Madrid trailing, they must win out to have a chance. Madrid will face ninth place Celta Vigo on Mother’s day, which should earn the desperate team three much needed points. In the final week Madrid faces Espanyol, the 12th place team in La Liga. With a win in the final game, that would bring Madrid’s point total to 90 points. To win the Championship, Madrid needs help from both Malaga and Elche. This week Atletico faces Malaga and Barcelona takes on Elche. A loss by Atletico to Malaga opens the door for Madrid, however a tie would just unlock the door. Barcelona could help Madrid with a loss or a draw with Elche. A win would complicate things greatly, but not take the championship totally out of the reach of Madrid.
If both Atletico and Barcelona both win their next game, the La Liga Championship will still be up for grabs with Real Madrid out of the running. Barcelona and Atletico face each other in the final game of the season. If Atletico wins both of their final two games, they will sit alone at the top of the league. However, if Barcelona wins out, that would give the team 90 points. To be alone in first place, like Real Madrid, Barcelona needs Atletico to either draw or lose their next game.
It is a confusing mess of who needs what to win the championship and while it looks like Atletico is in the driver’s seat, anything can happen. One big scare came for Real Madrid Wednesday as star forward Cristiano Ronaldo limped off the pitch with an apparent leg injury in the ninth minute of the game. With a mathematical chance at the championship, Ronaldo may play no matter what, to help the team fight for the championship. However, Madrid has the Champions League final game at the end of May against Atletico to consider, plus Ronaldo has the World Cup looming and may be forced to sit out to the rest of the season and hope for the best for Madrid in their final two La Liga games.
With the championship up for grabs, La Liga has turned into a very exciting race for the title. If Atletico can hold on to the lead, it will be the first time in nine years that a team other than Real Madrid or Barcelona have won the championship. The excitement going into the final two weeks of the season is bound to be a great run into the Champions League final and the World Cup makes for an exciting few months of soccer for fans around the world.
Commentary by Carl Auer