Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid: La Liga clockwatch – live! | Daniel Harris

Last modified: 04: 53 PM GMT+0

Defeat for Atlético Madrid means that they can no longer win La Liga; Barcelona need to win their final game to be sure of pipping Real Madrid, who are a point behind going into the final round of games

So, another ridiculous, standard afternoon of drama. Madrid win with the help of refereeing errors - well, sort of -Valencia could also have played well enough to render them irrelevant; Barcelona win by virtue of being brilliant; and Atleti finally run out of Atleti.

In short: Atletico now cannot win the league, while Barcelona still need a win at Granada if Madrid win at Deportivo.

Otherwise, thanks all for your company - bye.

FULL-TIME: Relegated Levante 2-1 Atletico Madrid


FULL-TIME: Barcelona 5-0 Espanyol

Not just.

FULL-TIME: Real Madrid 3-2 Valencia


90+3 min Gomes - who’s shown exactly why he’s rated as one of the best young players in the world - runs at the Madrid defence again. But there’s Alvaro Arbeloa with a superbly timed tackle, and that’s more or less it.

GOOOOOOALLLL! "Relegated" Levante 2-1 Atletico Madrid

Atleti have been Atletid! With more or less all their players attacking, Levante break two on one, a square ball, and there’s Giuseppe Rossi to tuck home. If they don’t score in the remaining minutes, Atleti are out of the title race!


90 min Valencia still knock it about with purpose and Madrid are sitting deep - there’ll be three additional minutes.

89 min The Espanyol players have spontaneously burst into song.

RED CARD! Rodrigo is sent-off for offences unspecified.

That should be that for Valencia now.

85 min And it nearly does almost immediately, Messi contriving space on the left and sliding a shot just past the far post.

GOAL! Barcelona 5-0 Espanyol (Neymar, 83)

Barcelona are toying with Espanyol now, and after they attempt various intricacy around the box, Dani Alves wedges a ball over the top for Suarez, into his stride on the right of the box. Rather than shoot, he squares, Roberto sliding in and not quite making it - but there's Neymar at the back post to slot home. And this could yet get worse.


83 min Valencia have really naused up Madrid’s defence; and now, there’s no Ronaldo to nause up theirs.

WHAT A GOAL! Real Madrid 3-2 Valencia (Gomes, 81)

Just after saving brilliantly from point-blank range to foil Rodrigo, Kiko Casilla is absolutely merked by Andre Gomes; he gathers possession on the left, drifts infield, and roasts, fizzes and hisses a curler high into the far corner.


81 min Of course, they may still win, but Atletico are finally being punished for getting involved in too many tight games.

79 min Ronaldo is replaced by Arbeloa - quite how he’ll handle the goals he’s not scoring in the remaining 11 minutes remains to be seen.

78 min We still don’t know when next week’s games are to be played, time or day. Day! I suppose in one aspect it matters less than in England - hardly any away fans travel - but nonetheless, what a ridiculous farce.

76 min In a move very similar to the one they contrived for the goal, only with roles reversed, Rodrigo goes down the left and cuts back for Gomes - who leans back and rips it over the bar, when all he had to do was not hit the keeper.

GOAL! Barcelona 4-0 Espanyol (Rafinha, 74)

Dearie me. Neymar and Arda exchange passes, before the former slides a speculative pass into the box. Pau Lopez dives on it, then allows it to squirm free for no reason, and there’s Rafinha to tap into the empty net.


73 min Iniesta departs to a standing ovation - Arda Turan comes on - and Rakitic goes too, Rafinha coming on.

71 min Espanyol are suddenly after a goal and Asensxio goes down the left, clipping a low cross that Mascherano cuts out - at the same time as sliding in on Victor Sanchez, who he duly cleans out before rolling around clutching his shoulder. No penalty!

69 min Neymar tees up Rakitic, arriving on the edge of the box - he blasts over the top.

68 min Diego Simeone is fairly unrelaxed. Someone should just tell him to chill out, man.

67 min Suarez and Pau Lopez have a frank exchange as Mascherano prepares to depart - he’s hurt his ankle by the look of things.

65 min Ominous for and from Espanyol: they bring on an extra defender, Correa, for Perez.

65 min Change for Madrid. With other fish to fry, Kovacic replaces Benzema.

GOAL! Barcelona 3-0 Espanyol (Suarez, 62)

This would never have happened under Pep - a header from a corner. Suarez shoves Javi Lopez, hard, and thumps home his 56th goal of the season, reinstating his Pichichi lead over Ronaldo.


62 min Valencia are going for it, but appear to have lost all interest in defending.

GOAL! Real Madrid 3-1 Valencia (Ronaldo, 59)

Just the 49 for the season. Valencia are caught miles upfield and one pass from Lucas Vasquez is all is takes to put Ronaldo in one on one. It’s still not an easy finish - he’s on his left foot and there’s a man in pursuit - but he takes it beautifully, waiting until just before the tackle comes in to loft a finish above Lopez, who probably went down earlier than was optimal.

GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia (Rodrigo, 55)

While Suarez was scoring for Barcelona, Parejo hit the bar with a free-kick, and Valencia maintained the pressure, the excellent Gomes nashing down the right and pulling back towards the six-yard box. Varian, though, was on the scene, but instead of smashing clear, tapped it into Rodrigo’s path, and he kept the heid well to slot home firmly from the edge of the box.


GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Espanyol (Suarez, 52)

Espanyol dither in possession outside the box and Rakitic snaps into a tackle, sending the ball to Messi, loitering right of centre. He immediately funnels it onto Suarez, inside the box and in front of goal - with keeper and defence converging, it’s out of his feet and high past Pau Lopez with amazing speed.


52 min Casemiro - or the Spanish Coquelin as he’s known - is late on Javi Fuego and is booked. Valencia have a free-kick just outside the box, just left of centre.

51 min Lovely combination play down the left from Marcelo and Benzema, setting Ronaldo away - but he’s wandered offside.

50 min Danilo worms some space for a cross and Benzema leaps to head down at the near post. But Diego Lopez is wise to the ruse and pushes the effort away.

49 min Madrid have Valencia pinned back and look in the mood for more; Barcelona have started the half sloppily.

47 min “Your fawning over Ronaldo is pathetic,” twitters Bryn Tello, “treating him like he is the best player in the world or something, Messi much better.”

Why do we have to choose? We’re lucky to have both, we’re obligated as sentient beings to enjoy both. Inasmuch as it matters, I agree, Messi is better, but it’s close.

47 min And off everywhere else too.

46 min Off we go again at the Bernabeu.

It seems that Messi’s beef is on account of a penalty he wasn’t awarded exactly when Levante were equalising. He wriggled space inside the box, left-hand side, drilled in a shot, and then, while all eyes were elsewhere, Ruben Duarte hacked him for the fun of it. Penalty all day, but can’t blame the officials for missing it.


Half-time: Levante 1-1 Atletico Madrid

It might be time for Tony Rocky Horror.

Half-time: Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia

After a tricky beginning, this one is doner than Ronnie and Sammi.

Half-time: Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol

Messi is haranguing the referee prior to leaving the pitch - he’s been tackled and other such abominations.

45 min There shall be one added minute at the Bernabeu.

GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia (Benzema, 43)

And that’s that. Ronaldo crosses from the right and Benzema, just offside, contorts his body to improvise a volley from a few yards out; Diego Alves does superbly to save. But Kroos recycles possession and slips a ball back to Benzema, this time onside, and he slips an instant finish inside the near post. That’s very well taken - there was no much at which to aim at all.


42 min As a “big critic” of Ronaldo, how does one evaluate oneself - and how does one cope with oneself?

40 min Sounds inconceivable, and yet, fairly sure the co-commentator on Madrid-Valencia just announced himself as a “big critic” of Ronaldo. Presumably he also has issues with Da Vinci, Olivier and Scorsese.

40 min Neymar is lucky he didn’t spend his childhood in a Scottish playground - not sure even his footballing ability could’ve saved him from that name.

37 min As I was saying, Valencia are all over Madrid here, and Rodrigo slips through Alcocer - it’s a delicious ball, and he’s in on goal, dead centre. To make sure of the equaliser, he squares, Arsenal 2002-style, but Perez can’t reach it on the slide. Still, though Cancelo has plenty of time to assess his options and smash it home, so opts for a chip that floats over the bar.

34 min Madrid have improved these last ten minutes, and Valencia are sitting back - whereas at the Nou Camp, Espanyol are growing in confidence. Caicedo is putting himself about in the box, and Victor Alvarez has just two-footed Messi, sparking a brief melee and earning a yellow card.

GOAL! Levante 1-1 Atletico Madrid (Casadesús, 32)

And what an excellent goal this is! Someone - I saw not who - scooted down the right and clipped back a cross from the by-line that Casadesús absolutely panelled into the top-right corner, via furrowed brow.


30 min “This isn’t quite there,” emails David French, “but at Haydn Primary School in the 1970s the headmaster was a dour Welsh Methodist, Mr Morgan. One of his standard lines was to ask: ‘What are the 3 M’s?’ To which the reply was supposed to be: ‘Manners Taketh Man’. In a rare moment of rebelliousness I came back with: ‘Make Mine Marvel.’”

When I was old enough to be less of a moron, I was taking a nap at law school.

“Keeping you awake, Daniel?”

“Only just.”

GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Valencia (Ronaldo, 26)

WE ARE PRIVILEGED TO BE LIVING IN HIS TIME! This is a brilliant, brilliant goal, not in the running past everyone of blasting it from miles out kind of way but in its clinical expertise multiplied by its tariff of difficulty. Marcelo darts a sharp ball into his feet, just outside the D, and with one touch he controls and completes a half-turn, then shifts it again - he’s moving away from goal, but rotates his whole body into a low, hard shot that looks saveable and is no such thing, fizzing into the bottom corner as if radio controlled.


25 min Madrid get bored of tapping it sideways James weleases Wonaldo, who’s made his way over to inside-right. He accelerates by Barragan but runs out of space and can’t get his shot away before Diego Alves smothers.

24 min It’s brief. Rakitic sweeps an aerial ball over the Espanyol back four for Neymar, on the left - his left. He kills it, into his stride, and rabonas a cross that Suarez can’t reach.

23 min We experience a collective lull.

22 min Zinedine Zidane appears to be leaner now than when he was playing - just to ruin you afternoons.

19 min Danilo escapes down the right and arcs over a sharp, low cross - Abdennour sticks out a leg to divert it behind, and James’ near-post corner is also sent that way, by Benzema.

18 min So far, Madrid have done a lot of nothing - as a primary school teacher of mine would have it. It’s their own time they’re wasting (send in your contributions to this riff).

16 min Ronaldo, who does everything for himself, such as scoring 63,409 goals for his team, retreats when Valencia win a corner and wins a towering header to send the ball away.

15 min Valencia look pretty comfy against Madrid - but then, that’s Madrid. They don’t have much rhythm or cohesion, but they do have various players able to finish you at a second’s notice.

13 min Diop swings a boot at Messi and there is brief consternation before order is restored - and that, of course, is precisely what everyone wants to see.

10 min And there’s another - or not! Suarez and Messi combine down the right-hand side of the box, the former playing in the latter to shoot. From an angle slightly acuter than he’d have chosen, he scuffs a right-footer straight at the keeper, and though Rakitic snaffles the rebound, he was also - marginally - offside.

GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol (Messi, 8)

Barcelona win a free-kick, 20 yards out and right side of the D. Messi steps up, opens his body, and drifts a drifter over the wall and towards the right-hand post. It’s not in the corner, but is still more than enough to deal with Pau Lopez. The boy can, it appears, play.


7 min “In regard to Atletico you left out cheating,” chides JR in Illinois. “I think that’s the problem some people have with them. The recent incident of throwing an extra ball on to stop their opponent’s attack being a very good example of the sort of thing they are willing to do.”

I get that - though was talking mainly about gripes as regards their style of play. But, seeing as we’re here, are their antics really any different from fouling, diving, arguing with the ref, transfer market dodginess - to name but a few?

GOAL! Levante 0-1 Atletico Madrid (Torres, 3)

Has Torres scored yet? YES! Running onto Koke’s through ball, he expertly lifts the ball over the diving Marino and that’s, er...


5 min Kroos nearly slides Ronaldo in, but it’s cut out by Barragan.

4 min Espanyol have started with purpose, pressing Barcelona high up the pitch - but then Barcelona come back at them, and Neymar’s low cross is humped away.

3 min As anyone who’s attended a childbirth will tell you, “business end” is a troubling moniker through which to describe a recreational event.

1 min And we’re off at the Bernabeu.

Toni Kroos looks like he could use a nap. Defensive midfield in this game isn’t a bad place for exactly such thing.

Pepe: the only man in the world able to look menacing when wearing a benchcoat.

The players are indulging in a handshake of sportsmanship, which will, of course, ensure impeccable behaviours.

Perhaps the most brilliant aspect of Diego Simeone’s brilliance is how quickly and effectively he’s rebuilt after losing key players. Or is it how he’s kept the likes of Koke and Godin at the club? Or how he’s rehabilitated Fernando Torres? Or the way he’s developed and trusted youngsters like Saul? Like we said, nothing to enjoy there whatsoever.

There appear to be people out there who don’t enjoy Atletico, and rightly so; where’s the pleasure in intense, inspirational, nasty, skilful, committed, enterprising, hard football? Exactly.

And Espanyol are a dangerous proposition now, too, not quite safe but more or less safe. If Barcelona take a while to get going, they might find themselves in a game.

Cast your minds back: in 2006-07, Barcelona and Real Madrid were going for the title - seriously, they were - with the Catalans two points in front. But then, who should visit but lil ole Espanyol, and (the) El Tamudazo did thus ensue.


So, what to make of that little lot? Barcelona are, like Elvis Sinosic, ready to rock and rumble; Atleti rest Girezmann; Madrid lack Modric but risk Ronaldo.

Teams x6

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar.

Subs: Masip, Turan, Rafinha, Munir, Sergio Roberto, Vidal, Mathieu.

Espanyol: Pau López; Javi López, Enzo Roco, Duarte, V.Álvarez, Diop, Cañas, V.Sánchez, Hernán Pérez, Asensio, Caicedo.

Subs: Rubén, Iván, Toño, Simao, Rubén, Deyverson, Rossi.


Levante: Mariño, Navarro, Verza, Lerma, Cuero, Morales, Juanfran, Medjani, Casadesús, Pedro López, Verdú.

Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Juanfran, Gimenez, Savic, Filipe Luis, Gabi, Augusto, Koke, Saul, Correa, Torres

Subs: Moya, Godin, Jesus Gamez, Thomas, Carrasco, Griezmann, Vietto


Real Madrid: Kiko Casilla; Danilo, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, James; Lucas Vazquez, Benzema, Ronaldo.

Subs: Ruben Yanez, Pepe, Nacho, Kovacic, Arbeloa, Jese, Isco

Valencia: Diego Alves; Barragan, Mustafi, Abdennour, Siqueiria; Javi Fuego; Cancelo, Parejo, Perez, Rodrigo; Alcacer.



La Liga is a frightfully uncompetitive league, what with its three teams contesting the title in the penultimate weekend of the season - unlike, say the Premier League, what with its champions strolling to the title with two games to spare.

It’s the way he tells em - but what an afternoon this promises to be! Barcelona are not only the world’s best team but possessed of perhaps the finest strikeforce ever assembled. And yet - amazingly! - they have struggled to replace the finest midfield ever assembled, such that a dodgy defence is now simply a dodgy defence, rather than a mirage born of hallucinogenic possession. They are fallible.

Nonetheless, a home win today, along with results going their way elsewhere, and they are champions - except that today is a derby game. Except that Atletico Madrid, their nearest challengers and planet form team, have an away game at Levante (to win 1-0), except that Real Madrid, their second nearest challengers and European Cup rivals, have to beat Gary Neville’s Valencia. It’s not a bad old life.

Kick-offs - or kicks-off: 4pm BST



Daniel Harris

The GuardianTramp

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