10 Storylines to Follow on the Final Day of La Liga

Paul WilkesFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2014

10 Storylines to Follow on the Final Day of La Liga

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    It's the final matchday of La Liga this weekend, and after an outstanding season, there is still much to be decided.

    Everyone in Spain likes to label the important games as finals, but that looks to be the case for a number of teams.

    The Primera race has gone to the wire, and the fixture list has given us a one-off title decider.

    At the other end of the table, there are five teams that can still face relegation with another two required to join Real Betis in next year's Segunda.

10. Levante to Finish Above Bigger Neighbours Valencia

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    On Friday evening, Levante travel to Malaga with a two-point advantage over Valencia. The Frogs have won their last two matches and are currently in ninth place.

    It may not be as good as their 2012 finish of sixth, which gave them a Europa League berth, but Levante would be over the moon with a victory.

    If they win or Los Che fail to get the three points against Celta Vigo, it would be the first time in their history that they have finished above their local rivals.

    However, this is more symbolic of Valencia's decline, with the club still waiting for new ownership to arrive.

9. Real Madrid's Team Selection

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    Carlo Ancelotti's men may have nothing left to play for in the context of the league, but they have the Champions League final only a week away.

    Some managers would look to rest their key players ahead of the showcase for Europe's biggest prize. Not the Italian, who will field his strongest possible line-up so that they are fully up to speed.

    Pepe and Karim Benzema are injured but should return in time for Lisbon. There are also doubts over the fitness of Gareth Bale and Angel Di Maria.

    Xabi Alonso is suspended for the final but should finish his campaign at the Bernabeu.

8. Ronaldo Tries to Win the Golden Shoe Award

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    He may not be 100 percent, but Cristiano Ronaldo will take a calculated risk against Espanyol.

    The Portuguese forward won't want to risk his chances of appearing in the club's hunt for La Decima, though he believes he knows his body better than anyone.

    He is currently tied with Liverpool's Luis Suarez in the race for Europe's Golden Shoe award.

    Expect plenty of speculative efforts from long range and the Ballon d'Or winner to depart shortly after he has attained his goal.

7. Sevilla Bring the Europa League Trophy Home

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    The Andalusians were superb as they held Benfica over the course of 120 minutes and then beat them on penalties.

    It's the third time they have won the trophy in the last nine years, and they are starting to believe it belongs to them.

    At the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan they will parade their silverware to the awaiting supporters.

    The match will be of little relevance, but it will be a carnival atmosphere with the fans ready to welcome home their heroes.

6. Draws for Getafe and Almeria Will Guarantee Safety

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    They may be mathematically still at risk, but the recent form of these two teams means they should avoid the drop.

    Getafe have kept three clean sheets and collected eight points in the last four games. They have won two at home and drawn two away matches.

    Almeria have pulled clear by a different method: scoring goals. They have won their last three encounters and hit nine goals in their previous four matches.

    If Getafe draw with Rayo Vallecano and Almeria draw with Athletic Bilbao, the two clubs will be safe regardless of how events unfold below them.

5. Real Betis Try to Make Osasuna Join Them in Segunda

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    It will be a sad sight to see Real Betis play their last La Liga match, and neutrals will be hoping a club of their size will quickly return to the top flight.

    The Seville derby is perhaps the best in the whole of Spain, and the success of their rivals Sevilla makes their demise even worse.

    Osasuna are in the bottom three, and anything less than a win will see them relegated.

    Prior to last week, they will have been pretty confident of beating a team that had lost six consecutive matches and had nothing left to play for.

4. Real Valladolid vs. Granada: Relegation Six-Pointer

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    There might be a one-off match to decide the title, but at the other end of the table there is another equally important meeting.

    Real Valladolid are 19th, while Granada are 17th; just two points separate the sides.

    The two clubs missed their first chance to steer themselves towards safety, as Granada lost at home to Almeria and Valladolid let a 3-2 lead slip to lose 4-3 to the already relegated Real Betis.

    If results don't go their way, both teams could go down in this dramatic finale.

3. Can Barcelona Win It for Tito?

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    Despite not having the best season on or off the pitch, if Barcelona beat Atletico to win the title, they will have deserved it.

    "After everything that has happened, we could dedicate it to Tito," proclaimed Lionel Messi at a publicity event in Switzerland, as reported by Football Espana.

    Gerardo Martino oversaw the best Barcelona start to a season, and if they can win at the Camp Nou it would be a great achievement after such a turbulent campaign.

2. Is It Diego Costa's Final La Liga Game for Atletico Madrid?

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    With reports this week that Chelsea has agreed a fee for the Spanish international, via Sky Sports, it's likely to be Diego Costa's last league game for Atleti.

    The club's financial position means they need to sell, and even if Costa wanted to stay, it's likely he would still be pushed out of the door.

    Last summer, Radamel Falcao was perceived as taking the money when he moved to Monaco, but his tears in his farewell press conference revealed a wider story.

    Costa has exceeded expectations this season, but the club have an excellent record of replacing their star forwards.

1. Diego Simeone's First of Two Finals

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    With the limited resources available at Atletico Madrid, it would be a shame if they didn't get the required result to give them their first title since 1996.

    The team has looked a little lethargic in recent weeks, but the players know that these two matches are the biggest of their careers.

    At least a draw in Barcelona would give them the La Liga title, and then they head to Portugal to take on their Madrid rivals in the Champions League Final.

    It's a week that dreams are made of.