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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 12, 2011

Plenty still to play for in Spain

The title race may now be over and two of the three relegation places decided but there is still plenty to play for for many teams heading into the penultimate round of Primera Division matches this weekend.

Barcelona clinched their third successive championship - and their ninth trophy in just three seasons under Pep Guardiola - after getting the point they needed at Levante on Wednesday night that ensures they cannot be overtaken by second-placed Real Madrid.

That triumph means Barca, who host Deportivo La Coruna at Camp Nou this weekend, can now turn their focus to the Champions League final against Manchester United later this month.

Captain Carles Puyol said: "It is a very important title and afterwards we can rest and start preparing for the final at Wembley.''

Madrid, meanwhile, are away to fourth-placed Villarreal this weekend, when all ten top-flight fixtures will kick-off at 9pm local time on Sunday. Already certain of finishing second, Jose Mourinho's men now have little to play for, although in-form forward Cristiano Ronaldo could yet break the single-season Primera Division scoring record.

The world's most expensive player has netted seven times in his last two matches to take his tally to 36 in La Liga this season - two short of the mark set by Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra in 1950-51 and equalled by Madrid's Hugo Sanchez in 1989-90.

Ronaldo, whose 49 goals in all competitions this term mean he is already Madrid's leading scorer in one season, overtaking the legendary Ferenc Puskas' tally of 47 in the 1959-60 campaign, said of the possibility of entering the record books: "I'm not thinking a lot about that. I prefer to do my thing to help the team to win and if I beat the records then that would be good, but if I don't, to be honest I don't care about that.''

Villarreal, who are guaranteed at least fourth place, still have an outside chance of snatching third spot away from Valencia, but to do that the Yellow Submarine will need to win both their final games and also need Los Che to lose both of theirs. Valencia are at home to neighbours Levante this weekend.

The top four spots therefore look to already have been decided, and it is a similar story at the foot of the table where bottom two Almeria and Hercules have already been relegated. However, for many of the teams between fifth spot and 19th there is still everything to play for in the final two rounds.

In the race for the Europa League places, there are two points separating Athletic Bilbao (fifth), Atletico Madrid (sixth) and Sevilla (seventh), while Espanyol are three points further back in eighth. The teams finishing fifth, sixth and seventh will qualify for the 2011-12 Europa League.

This weekend, Athletic host in-form Malaga - who have rocketed up to 10th place on the back of five successive wins - Atletico take on Hercules, Sevilla are at home to Real Sociedad and Espanyol go to Real Zaragoza.

Zaragoza are currently in the last remaining relegation spot following their late defeat to Sociedad last night, but they are not the only team with concerns about going down.

Above them there are eight teams within six points heading into the final two rounds - Getafe, Depor, Sporting Gijon, Sociedad, Real Mallorca, Levante, Osasuna and Malaga.

Getafe and Osasuna meet in what could be a crucial match for both sides, while Mallorca go to bottom club Almeria and Sporting take on ninth-placed Racing Santander, who are now safe from the drop after winning their last three games.

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