Three La Liga talking points ahead of final weekend

La Liga’s final weekend offers few potential twists with Real Madrid crowned champions, the European qualifiers and relegation battle already over.

However there are still some interesting threads to follow as another season draws to a close. AFP Sport looks at three talking points.

Battle for golden boot

One of the few matters yet to be resolved is the race for Spain’s Pichichi trophy — La Liga’s golden boot.

Villarreal’s Alexander Sorloth leapt to the top of the standings with 23 goals after hitting four against Real Madrid last weekend.

The Norwegian striker and his team visit Osasuna on Saturday, and by then he may no longer be leading the race.

On Friday Girona host Granada with forward Artem Dovbyk on 21 goals, in hot pursuit of Sorloth.

The Ukrainian striker has been a key figure for the Catalan side this season, helping fire them to a remarkable third-place finish.

Xavi’s last game?

Speculation still swirls around Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez’s future.

Just weeks after he agreed to stay on for next season, Barcelona president Joan Laporta may axe the former midfield great.

Spanish reports last week said the president had decided to sack Xavi after the team failed to win a trophy this season and finished a distant second to bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Xavi arrived in November 2021 and after leading Barcelona to the title last season, could have his time in charge cut short with a year still to run on his contract.

The visit to face Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan could be his final curtain call for the club, and also closes out the Spanish season on Sunday night.

Madrid on alert

Champions Real Madrid are just hoping to get through their last match at Real Betis without any injury concerns ahead of the Champions League final on June 1.

However, Carlo Ancelotti might select a strong side to keep his players sharp ahead of the clash with Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

After a wild 4-4 draw with Villarreal last weekend Ancelotti will want his defence to offer a more sturdy display.

Midfielder Toni Kroos will likely be afforded generous applause by Betis fans as he prepares to play his last ever match in the top flight, having announced he will retire this summer.

Many international players across the league will also be hoping to make it through the last week unscathed so they can feature for their countries at Euro 2024 or the Copa America.

Player to watch: Nico Williams

The Athletic Bilbao winger has enjoyed a brilliant season, helping the team win the Copa del Rey, and will hope to sign off in sparkling form ahead of Euro 2024. Williams is a potential starter for Spain on the left flank and a good showing at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday will help his chances.

Key stats

0 – Rayo Vallecano have scored no headed goals this season, unique across Europe’s top five leagues

13 – Not only do Villarreal have the top goalscorer, their midfielder Alex Baena leads La Liga for assists

83 – Cadiz midfielder Ruben Alcaraz has committed the most fouls in the top flight

Fixtures

Friday

Girona v Granada (1900)

Saturday

Osasuna v Villarreal (1200), Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid (1415), Almeria v Cadiz, Rayo Vallecano v Athletic Bilbao (both 1630), Real Betis v Real Madrid (1900)

Sunday

Getafe v Mallorca (1200), Celta Vigo v Valencia, Las Palmas v Alaves (both 1415), Sevilla v Barcelona (1900)

AFP

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