Barcelona vs. Malaga: Preview, Live Stream, Start Time and More
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The Pep Guardiola farewell tour continues as Barcelona face Malaga at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Three games remain in La Liga, and Barcelona looked resigned to a second-place finish barring a catastrophic collapse by Real Madrid. Malaga are seemingly poised to nick a spot in next season's Champions League.
Champions League qualification was seen as the bare minimum for Malaga at the start of the season. The Andalusian club has done just enough to control its own destiny but have hardly played as advertised this season.
Malaga's roster full of familiar names have looked disjointed for a majority of the season and sit in fourth with a chance of finishing third due to the domestic ineptitude of the likes of Athletic Bilbao, Valencia and Atletico Madrid.
Barca have won every award possible since Guardiola took charge. This preview will highlight some of the lesser-known awards both teams have recently took home.
Where: Camp Nou
When: Wednesday, 2 May at 2:00 PM ET
Live stream: ESPN
The Sam Allardyce No Fun Award Goes To...
None other than Carles Puyol. The Barcelona captain felt compelled to break up Thiago and Dani Alves' dance number after they combined to score a pretty slick goal.
The duo has been ripped, and unfairly so, by the media for this little jig. Rayo is one of the hardest places to play, and the entire team had been barracked by the home support.
Football will be a much better place when Puyol and his unbearable ugliness retire. Let the lads have some fun, they had earned it.
Besides, there is no point in taking a match so seriously when it has little importance. Football is a game after all.
The Lehman Brothers Money Management Award Goes To...
Malaga and their sugar daddy Sheik Abdullah Al Thani. There were delusions of grandeur when he took over. The idea Malaga could break the La Liga duopoly became the mission of the club.
The project began in full earnest this summer with the team being linked to seemingly every high-profile player in the world. Malaga made a couple of nice additions but could not reel in the big fish the Sheik craved.
What is the result of Barcelona vs. Malaga?
Then the money started disappearing during the winter. Failure to pay wages and transfer embargoes are not the best thing to have linked to a supposedly cash rich club.
It is hard to know what to expect from Malaga this summer even if they land Champions League football. Al Thani may show up with more cash, or he may vanish altogether as foreign investors have been known to do.
The Paul Scholes Lifetime Achievement Award Goes To...
Ruud van Nistelrooy, who is still playing on occasion for Malaga.
A decade ago, he was banging in the goals for Manchester United. Ryan Giggs and David Beckham were providing fantastic service on the flanks while Scholes and Roy Keane powered United's midfield engine.
Currently, Giggs and Scholes still get games at Old Trafford, Beckham is living his Hollywood dream and van Nistelrooy has basically retired in sunny Spain.
It has not been van Nistelrooy's best season. He has scored four goals this season and looks like a player whose best days are way behind him.
A goal against Barca is not out of the realm of possibility and would provide a sense of conclusion to a wonderful career for the Dutchman.
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And the Winner of the Barcelona vs. Malaga is...
Neither team. Barcelona are the favorites, yet the team from the beach has more to play for. Malaga need a draw, and Manuel Pellegrini has never been known for his adventurous spirit.
Barcelona played with freedom against Rayo on Sunday. They looked like school kids under a substitute teacher until Puyol preceded to be a wet blanket.
Very few teams exit the Camp Nou with a point, but it is not an impossible task. Malaga were crushed 4-1 by Barca in January. However, they are coming off a good win against Valencia.
The way Barcelona's season has gone, they will concede a cheap penalty, hit the woodwork a bunch and Messi will bail them out with a goal in the second half to salvage a draw.
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