What's still at stake in La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A
La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A finish up their respective seasons this weekend. Here's a look at what's left to play for, including crucial matches for Cyle Larin's Valladolid and Jonathan David's Lille.
Champions: Barcelona — Barcelona's glow in the warmth of their 27th Spanish championship dimmed a little bit this week with word that former talisman Lionel Messi is highly unlikely to return now that his departure from Paris Saint-Germain has been confirmed. While their final fixture against Celta Vigo is meaningless for them, it could have major bearing on the other end of the table. More on that later.
Champions League: Real Madrid, Atletico, Real Sociedad and Sevilla — It's not unprecedented, but it's still rare. Thanks to Sevilla's triumph over Roma on penalties at Wednesday's wild Europa League Final in Budapest, five Spanish teams will compete in the Champions League next season with Jose Luis Mendilibar's side joining Real Madrid, Atletico and Real Sociedad who claimed spots in Europe's premier club competition through their place in the table. Despite their loss to Atleti last weekend, Sociedad earned a top-four finish when Villarreal lost to Rayo Vallecano. Runners-up to Barca has yet to be settled with Atleti trailing crosstown rivals Real by a single point heading into the final matchday. Atletico hosts Villarreal, while Real hosts Bilbao.
Europa League: Villarreal and Real Betis — While Villarreal won't compete in Champions League next season, they will return to Europe in Europa League. They will be joined by Real Betis, who return to Europa League for the second straight season and third time in five years. Betis reached the semi-finals in 2019.
Europa Conference League: Spain's final European spot remains up for grabs heading into Sunday's final matchday with five teams still in contention for that final place. Osasuna and Bilbao are level on 50 points with Girona, Rayo Vallecano and Valencia on 49. While Mallorca can still finish on 50 points, they are no longer in contention for the spot by virtue of Osasuna winning any potential tiebreaker. Everything depends on Osasuna's match with Girona. Should Osasuna win, the spot is theirs regardless of any other results. The tiebreakers in La Liga are as follows: 1. Head-to-head points 2. Goal differential in head-to-head games 3. General goal differential 4. Goals scored 5. FIFA Fair Play 6. Sudden-death game(s)
Relegation: Elche and Espanyol — Elche's return to the Segunda Division was confirmed quite a while ago with the team sitting on only 24 points. Going down with them will be Espanyol, whose relegation was confirmed with Valencia's late goal in a 1-1 draw last weekend. Six other teams still face the drop headed into Sunday:
— Cadiz: In 13th spot on 41 points, Cadiz needs just a single point against already relegated Elche to preserve their top-flight status.
— Getafe: Getafe is also on 41 points and needs just one point to earn safety, but their final match is of massive consequence in the relegation battle. Getafe visits the equally desperate Valladolid, who know that a win is the best way for them to avoid the drop. A loss by Getafe doesn't doom them, but things can get very dicey if they do.
— Valencia: The six-time Spanish champions, Valencia was last relegated in 1986 and their descent into Segunda Division lasted a single season as they finished atop the league and were immediately promoted. Needless to say, the relegation of a team as prestigious as Valencia would be a massive embarrassment for a club filled with international stars. That said, that possibility appears to be unlikely. A single point against a Real Betis side with nothing to play for is all Ruben Baraja's side needs to avoid relegation.
— Almeria: On 40 points, Almeria's path to survival is quite simple. A draw or better against Espanyol is all that it needed to ensure safety because they own the tiebreaker against Getafe.
— Celta Vigo: Celta's form to finish the season is the only reason why they head into a life-or-death final matchday with Barca. The team is winless in six and needs three points to ensure their survival. Perhaps the one major factor that could work in their favour is that the match is entirely meaningless for the champions and they're unlikely to take any risks with any players who aren't entirely fit. Of course, that doesn't mean Barca will roll over and die.
— Valladolid: The team that will be of biggest interest to viewers in Canada, Valladolid, led by Brampton, Ont.'s Cyle Larin, need a win against Getafe to survive on Sunday. The match is hugely consequential to Larin personally, as well. Earlier this week, TSN's Matt Scianitti reported that Valladolid is likely to activate its purchase clause that was included in their loan arrangement for Larin with Club Brugge should they win and earn safety. In 18 appearances since his arrival from the Belgian giants in January, the CanMNT forward has eight goals. Survival is also possible with a draw coupled with an Almeria loss and Celta earning a point against Barca.
Sunday’s crucial Valladolid vs. Getafe match can be seen live at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT on TSN+.
Champions: Paris Saint-Germain — PSG claimed their record 11th French title and ninth in the last 11 seasons thanks to last Saturday's 1-1 draw against Strasbourg. Saturday's match against Clermont will not be without meaning, however, as the game at Parc des Princes will be the final appearance of Lionel Messi in a PSG shirt. The Argentina icon will be headed elsewhere in the summer transfer window.
Champions League: Lens and Marseille — Ligue 1 is allocated two group-stage spots for the Champions League and the third-place team enters in the third qualifying round. PSG and Lens will be headed to the group stage, while Marseille enters in the third qualifying round. Joining them there will be AEK, Sparta Prague, Rangers, Braga, PSV, Sturm Graz and Serbia side TSC.
Europa League: Toulouse — As Coupe de France winners, Toulouse claimed a Europa League place. They will be joined by the fifth-place finishers in Ligue 1. Canada forward Jonathan David and Lille are in the driver's seat, currently in fifth on 66 points and holding a one-point lead over both Monaco and Rennes. A victory for LOSC over the relegated Troyes and David's Canada teammate Iké Ugbo will do the trick and claim the spot. Should David be departing the club in the transfer window as is expected, the match will mark David's final chance to approach Pierre Pleimelding's goals record for Les Dogues. David needs three goals against Troyes to match his 61 and four to become the club's all-time goals leader. Should tiebreakers come into play among the three teams, they will be as follows: 1. Goal difference 2. Head-to-head points 3. Goal difference in head-to-head matches 4. Goals in head-to-head matches 5. Away goals in head-to-head matches 6. Overall goals 7. Overall away goals. 8. FIFA Fair Play 9. Sudden death match(es)
Europa Conference League: The same three teams looking to reach Europa League are vying for the consolation prize of Conference League and whichever of Monaco, Lille or Rennes finishes fifth will head to UEFA's tertiary competition. The sixth-place side will miss out on Europe altogether.
Relegation: Angers, Ajaccio and Troyes — Ligue 1 returns to an 18-team league from 20 for next season, meaning that four teams instead of the normal three are being relegated this year. Angers, Ajaccio and Troyes have already been doomed to the drop. They will be joined by one of two other teams:
— Auxerre: Auxerre occupies the final safe spot heading into the final matchday of the season. Holding a +7 goal differential over Nantes means a single point against Lens will be enough to avoid the drop. While Lens will finish in second place this season and will be a formidable opponent, there is a good chance key players could be rested.
— Nantes: Nantes needs a win and some help to overturn Auxerre's two-point lead. The team will need to not only beat the already relegated Angers, but it will also need Lens to defeat Auxerre.
Champions: Napoli — A lot has changed for Napoli since claiming their first Scudetto since 1990 on May 4. Knowing that it would already be a battle to retain stars like Victor Osimhen and Kim Min-jae in the transfer window, their summer plans were thrown into disarray with the news this week that manager Luciano Spalletti was taking a sabbatical and will not be returning to the club next season. Chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis has a consequential next few months ahead of him.
Champions League: Lazio, Inter and Milan — Joining Napoli in the Champions League next season will be Lazio, Inter and Milan. For the Rossoneri, next season's tournament represents a chance to bounce back from the sting of crashing out of this year's semi-finals against archrivals Inter. Inter, of course, isn't even thinking about next season's Champions League because their focus is on this season's Final. The Nerazzurri travel to Istanbul on June 10 to take on Manchester City as they attempt to claim their first Champions League since 2010.
Europa League: Serie A will send two teams to Europa next season and they will be two of Atalanta, Roma and Juventus. Atalanta and Roma, who are coming off Wednesday's heartbreaking penalties loss to Sevilla in this season's Europa League Final, control their own destinies. Respective wins against Monza and Spezia will clinch entry. Juventus, who finishes their season against Udinese, need a win and some help. Should tiebreakers factor into things, they are as follows: 1. Head-to-head points 2. Head-to-head goal differential 3. General goal differential 4. Goals scored 5. Coin flip
Europa Conference League: The one Conference League place will go to the seventh-place finisher and that will be one of the team's mentioned above.
Relegation: Sampdoria and Cremonese — Sampdoria and Cremonese are returning to Serie B with one of Verona or Spezia, both currently on 31 points, joining them.
— Spezia: Spezia holds the tiebreaker over Verona by virtue of head-to-head points. A win versus Roma will guarantee their safety.
— Verona: Verona must finish ahead of Spezia and are doomed by a Spezia victory. They finish their season with a visit to the San Siro and a date with Milan knowing that they must win and get some help from Roma.