Final day showdown for Atletico, Villarreal
Barcelona made history by becoming the first Spanish team to win the treble when they defeated Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final on Wednesday, but for some teams just getting into the competition is the season's aim.
Millions of euros are at stake on the final weekend of the league season as Atletico Madrid and Villarreal vye for fourth place and the money-spinning Champions League spot that comes with it. Atletico are in pole position and need just a point at home to Almeria on Saturday for a second successive season in Europe's flagship competition.
Villarreal are two points behind Atletico and need to beat Real Mallorca on Saturday and hope for a favour from Almeria, although Hugo Sanchez's side have nothing to play for. "Going for a draw would be a huge mistake," warned Atletico defender Tomas Ujfalusi. "We want to win and I am sure our fans will help to drive us on as we all want to celebrate Champions League qualification together."
Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan has inspired Atletico with nine goals in his last five games and is on course to win the Pichichi crown for the league's top-scorer with 31 goals, two ahead of Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o on 29. Eto'o scored the opening goal in the Champions League final win and is likely to be given the chance to try and steal the top scorer crown in Barcelona's away match at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.
Barcelona are basking in their league, Kings Cup and Champions League hat-trick which has seen them hailed as the best team in the club's illustrious history. "We have made history (by winning the treble). Perhaps we don't realise the significance of it, but in 108 years no team in Spain had managed to do it," said defender Gerard Pique.
Depor have an outside chance of a UEFA Europa League spot and will hope champions Barcelona field a crop of youngsters at the Riazor Stadium. Valencia currently occupy the final European place, two points ahead of Depor, and just need a draw at home to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday to seal sixth spot.
Valencia's poor run-in saw them surrender a Champions League berth and missing out on Europe altogether would be a financial disaster. "We are hurting (from the Champions League disappointment) but we have to get over it because the Europa League place is not assured," said Valencia coach Unai Emery.
For Real Madrid, who have lost their last four games, this season can not end soon enough with no trophies and the agony of watching arch-rivals Barcelona winning the treble. Real travel to Osasuna on Sunday in what will undoubtedly be Juande Ramos's final match in charge as the club prepare for sweeping summer changes.
Third from bottom Osasuna are one of five teams that can be relegated on the final day of the season with one team set to join already relegated Recreativo Huelva and Numancia in the second division. Osasuna are level on 40 points with Sporting Gijon who host Recre on Sunday while two of the troubled teams, Real Betis and Valladolid, face off in Seville.
Valladolid have been freefalling down the table after failing to win since mid-March and are now two points above the drop zone while Betis are one point worse off. "Our destiny is in our own hands," said Betis striker Sergio Garcia. "We don't want to look at what other teams are doing but just concentrate on winning and saving ourselves."
Garcia and striker partner Ricardo Oliveira were both relegated on the final day of last season with Real Zaragoza, and will hope lightning doesn't strike twice. Getafe are the other side fighting for their lives, a point above the relegation spots, and travel to Racing Santander on Sunday.