Real Madrid close to ending trophy drought
24 May 2007, MADRID - Real Madrid knows three more wins are the only sure way of ending its four-year spell without a trophy.
24 May 2007
MADRID - Real Madrid knows three more wins are the only sure way of ending its four-year spell without a trophy.
An injury-time winner from Roberto Carlos against Recreativo Huelva kept Madrid on top last weekend and the team is coming into Saturday's matchup against Deportiva La Coruna with one loss in 14.
Madrid and defending champion FC Barcelona each have 69 points, with Madrid holding leading on head-to-head results. UEFA Cup winner Sevilla has 67 and Valencia 65 after 35 games.
If Madrid can close out its season with three victories, it will clinch the crown.
"There's three games left and I want to bid farewell with a title," Roberto Carlos said Thursday. "It's entirely up to us. The team is very confident and we know we can put the cherry to this season by winning the league."
Its been more than 50 years since the team voted FIFA's club of the century endured such a long time without silverware.
Midfielder David Beckham _ like Roberto Carlos _ is looking at his last chance to win a trophy before his exit from the Bernabeu.
The former England captain is expected to earn an England call-up _ his first since last year's World Cup _ as a result of his play since returning from a knee injury.
The 32-year-old Beckham will join Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy at the close of the season.
Barcelona hosts Getafe, the same club that humbled the Catalan club 4-0 two weeks ago to advance to the June 23 Copa del Rey final against Sevilla.
Barcelona recovered with a 6-0 drubbing at sixth-place Atletico Madrid, but the chase for a third straight title has been overshadowed by more off-field problems.
Striker Samuel Eto'o said the dressing room needed to be rid of certain players and that his place in the team couldn't be touched by coach Frank Rijkaard.
"Criticism motivates me. The more they attack me, the more I want to get out there and score goals," the Cameroon striker said.
Barcelona, which hasn't lost at the Camp Nou stadium this season, will be without Rafael Marquez after the Mexico defender injured his right thigh in training this week.
For Sevilla, catching the top two won't be easy, especially with a date with Zaragoza, which is chasing the final Champions League place.
"Right now, to win the league is a lot harder than a week ago," Sevilla coach Juande Ramos said. "We know that we have two important rivals ... who will be very difficult to beat but we will be there in case they fail."
Sevilla will look to defend its European Super Cup on Aug. 31 when it plays Champions League winners AC Milan, which beat Liverpool 2-1 in Athens on Wednesday for the title.
Valencia's chances of winning its third title in six years hinge on a win over provincial-rival Villarreal, which has won five straight.
Valencia midfielder David Albelda knows one slip-up and the club will be out of the race.
"We know it will be difficult, but ... we have to be optimistic and positive about our chances," Albelda said.
Valencia winger Vicente Rodriguez could feature for the first time since early April after recovering from injury.
In the battle to survive relegation, one Basque club is unlikely to avoid the drop.
Real Sociedad could overtake Athletic Bilbao in the safety zone with a win at Osasuna. Its been 40 years since Real Sociedad dropped out of Spain's top division.
Athletic is looking to avoid the drop for the first time in its 106-year history. The Basque club has 34 points, one more than Sociedad, and hosts Mallorca.
Madrid and Barcelona are the only other two clubs to have never played outside Spain's top flight.
Also on Sunday, relegated Gimnastic Tarragona faces Atletico; Racing Santander plays Levante; Huelva hosts Espanyol; and Real Betis travels to Celta Vigo, which could be relegated with a sixth straight loss after winning coach Hristo Stoichkov's debut.
[Copyright AP with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news