Everyone expects Real Madrid to wrap up the La Liga title on Sunday when they travel to Malaga – especially as their opponents are managed by Michel, who spent 20 years with the Madrid club.
All Madrid need is a draw to confirm their triumph, regardless of what Barcelona do against Eibar.
But Barcelona have been in this position before, needing a win and a slip-up from league leaders. Sometimes, not even former Madrid players being in the opposition dugout is enough to win Madrid the title.
Here’s a look at five times Barcelona have won the title on the final day of the season.
1991-92 | ONE POINT BEHIND REAL MADRID
Real Madrid went into the final day one point ahead of Barcelona (a win was worth two points those days) and travelled to Tenerife, who were managed by Madrid old boy Jorge Valdano – a fact that led many fans to believe the title was all but secure for Los Blancos.
Madrid went 2-0 up, but Tenerife then stunned Spanish football with a comeback that resulted in a 3-2 win. Barcelona’s own 2-0 win against Athletic Club saw Johan Cruyff’s men pip their bitter rivals to the title, and complete a league and European Cup double.
1992-93 | ONE POINT BEHIND REAL MADRID
Impossibly, a nearly identical scenario unfolded a year later. Yet again, Real Madrid held a one-point lead ahead of a final-day fixture against Tenerife, and yet again, Barcelona emerged as champions. Madrid lost 2-0, while Barcelona won at home against Real Sociedad, 1-0, prompting another massive celebration at the Nou Camp.
These are the two results that will give Barcelona hope on Sunday, when Madrid again play a side managed by a former Madridista.
1993-94 | ONE POINT BEHIND DEPORTIVO LA CORUNA
For a third straight year, Barcelona headed into the final day a point behind the leaders, only to end up winning the league. They took care of business at home, beating Sevilla 5-2, but the real drama unfolded elsewhere.
At Deportivo La Coruna’s famed Riazor stadium, the home side needed a win against Valencia to guarantee a first league title in club history.
In the 90th minute, with the scores level at 0-0, they got a penalty, but failed to convert, handing the title over to Barcelona in the cruellest of fashions. The two sides finished level on points, with Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Depor earlier in the season proving to be the title-winning result.
The final-day drama was not without controversy, as many at Deportivo believed Valencia players had been paid by Barcelona to ensure the Catalan side would win the title, with Valencia having little to play for otherwise. Those suspicions were seemingly confirmed over a decade later, with several players from that Valencia squad admitting that they’d received incentive from Barcelona.
2009-10 | ONE POINT AHEAD OF REAL MADRID
In truth, while the title was decided on the final day in 2010, there was little doubt about the destination of the La Liga trophy going into the final round of fixtures. Barcelona were facing Real Valladolid at home, holding a one-point lead over Real Madrid, who travelled to Malaga.
Madrid needed a win and a Barcelona draw or loss. Instead, Los Blancos drew 1-1 at Malaga, while Barcelona performed as expected, beating Valladolid 4-0 to seal the title.
2015-16 | ONE POINT AHEAD OF REAL MADRID
Just last season, the two sides went into the final day with both harbouring hopes of a title triumph. Barcelona had collapsed towards the end of the season, seeing a 10-point lead at the top whittled down to just one, but they headed into their final-day fixture against Granada on the back of four straight wins.
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid faced away fixtures against sides with nothing to play for, with Granada and Deportivo, Madrid’s opponents, having secured La Liga survival before the final round. Madrid beat Deportivo 2-0, but didn’t get the Barcelona slip-up they needed, as La Blaugrana beat Granada 3-0 to seal the title.
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