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Eto'o on a mission to finish as La Liga's top scorer

MADRID, May 19 (Reuters) - Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o can cap a memorable season by finishing as the Primera Liga's top scorer with a goal against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

The Cameroon forward, who scored in the 2-1 Champions League final win over Arsenal on Wednesday, was deprived of the honour on the final day last season by Villarreal's Diego Forlan.

Eto'o is currently joint-top scorer with Valencia's David Villa on 25 goals but can claim the honour for himself in his side's rescheduled final league game of the season.

Cameroon's failure to reach the World Cup leaves Eto'o as one of his team's few regulars available for the match because Barca's Germany-bound players are joining their national squads.

The match is of little consequence for either team with Barca already league champions and Bilbao, in 13th spot, safe from relegation and out of the running for Europe.

If Barca win they will finish a massive 15 points clear of second-placed Real Madrid to put the seal on a season where they have been head and shoulders above their rivals.


The league had to ask FIFA's permission to extend the season beyond the agreed May 15 deadline after Barcelona's match with Sevilla was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch on April 23.

With a fixture pile-up exacerbated by Barca's progress in the Champions League and Sevilla's run to the UEFA Cup final, the only way to resolve the issue without prejudicing other teams was with the compromise of finishing against Bilbao.

As part of the deal with soccer's world governing body no international players involved in the World Cup will feature in the game, which will decimate Barca's side.

Ronaldinho, Deco, Rafael Marquez and Carles Puyol will all be on international duty after celebrating Wednesday's victory over Arsenal at the Stade de France in Paris.

Bilbao, after a season spent worrying about relegation for the first time in their history, need to start building for next season and a win could give them a much-needed confidence boost.

They will be without influential midfielder Fran Yeste, who is injured, while Barca's Gabri and Silvinho are suspended.