Sevilla on the brink of qualification
Sevilla homed in on UEFA Champions League qualification with a 3-1 comeback win over Real Mallorca at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to pull seven points clear of fourth-placed Valencia. Aritz Aduriz put Mallorca ahead on the quarter-hour mark, but Sevilla responded with a Freddy Kanoute penalty before second-half goals from Luis Fabiano and Jesus Navas sealed victory. It was Sevilla's first home win since late March.
Elsewhere Athletic Bilbao warmed up for their King's Cup final on 13 May against Barcelona with a 1-0 win over troubled Real Betis. Ion Velez scored the only goal of the game in the 29th minute to put wind in Bilbao's sails for the Barcelona challenge.
It goes without saying that Bilbao will start as strong underdogs, but they have a great record in the domestic cup, winning it on 24 occasions. This, however, will be their first final since 1985. For Betis, staying in the league is the only priority, with the Seville-based club just three points above the relegation zone.
Champions Real Madrid are in action today at Valencia as they try to forget their nightmare 6-2 home drubbing by Barcelona in the 2 May 'El Clasico'. With Barca now seven points ahead, with just 12 points to play for, the title race looks nearly over and should Real fail to beat Valencia, Barca could win the championship on 10 May with a home victory over Villarreal.
Valencia have a lot at stake against Real as they try to hold onto fourth place, with Atletico Madrid and Villarreal both just a point behind. Real captain Raul was in the headlines this week after megabucks Manchester City made an ambitious move to lure him to England from the Spanish capital.
"Manchester City have made contact through my agent Gines Carvajal. But I've not really considered it because I would be mad to leave here," Raul said. "I'm only interested in finishing my career with Real."
Raul is a symbol of Real after winning six league titles and three UEFA Champions League crowns there in a glittering career spanning 15 years. However, changes are expected at Real this summer and former Real legend Zinedine Zidane feels the club must pull out all the stops to sign French international Franck Ribery from Bayern Munich.
"Real have to do everything possible to get Ribery," said Zidane.
Barcelona are also said to be interested in winger Ribery, but at the moment they have more pressing matters as they target a historic treble. Last week was memorable for Pep Guardiola's side, who crushed Real to put one hand on the title and then scraped past Chelsea into the Champions League final with a last-gasp goal. The final part of their treble tilt is the King's Cup final against Bilbao on 13 May at Valencia's Mestalla Stadium.