France & Spain set for tense final day

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May 22, 2021
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    Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone and Lille manager Christophe GaltierDiego Simeone's Atletico Madrid and Christophe Galtier's Lille go into the final day of the season top of La Liga and Ligue 1 respectively

    It's the final weekend of the top-flight seasons in Spain and France, with a gripping finale expected to decide who will be crowned champions of La Liga and Ligue 1.

    Over in Spain, Atletico Madrid are on the verge of winning their first league title for seven years but arch-rivals Real Madrid are waiting to pounce if they slip up.

    In France, the top three – Lille, Paris St-Germain and Monaco – are separated by three points.

    Leaders Lille, one point ahead of PSG going into the final day, are one win away from winning the crown for the first time since 2010-11.

    Here, BBC Sport sets the scene for what promises to be a nail-biting last day in both leagues.

    • How Simeone reinvented Atletico Madrid
    • Lille – France's new force after decade of hurt?
    • Lucky or legendary? Does Zidane get the credit he deserves?
    • Neymar – does the good outweigh the bad?

    La Liga: Will Simeone deliver the title?

    Two teams separated by two points with one game to play. One thing already certain before Saturday's title-deciding games is the crown will be staying in Spain's capital.

    With Barcelona out of the running, will leaders Atletico hold on or can Real, the defending champions, steal it at the death?

    Atletico Madrid have a two-point cushion at the top of La Liga heading into the final day of the 2020-21 season

    A win for Atletico at relegation-threatened Real Valladolid will secure a first league title since 2014 – and second under Diego Simeone, who has managed them since 2011.

    Anything less opens the door for neighbours Real, who entertain Unai Emery's Villarreal – Manchester United's Europa League final opponents next Wednesday.

    Atletico have 83 points but a last-day draw and a Real win would ensure both Madrid clubs finish on 84 points.

    With head-to-head record – instead of goal difference – then coming into play, Real would be crowned kings of Spain as they have taken four points off Atletico in their two meetings in 2020-21.

    "It's a final against Valladolid, with two sides fighting for their own different, but important, objectives and we will both give absolutely everything they've got to achieve it," said Simeone.

    Atletico hope Luis Suarez will help them over the line. The former Liverpool forward has 20 goals in 31 La Liga appearances since joining from Barcelona last September.

    However, Real are unbeaten in 17 league games, their best La Liga run within the same season since March 2014 under Carlo Ancelotti.

    Race for La Liga – last-day fixtures
    ATLETICO MADRID REAL MADRID
    Real Valladolid (away) – 19th in the table Villarreal (home) – 7th in the table

    Despite Karim Benzema's 22 league goals, Real face the bleak prospect of ending the season without a trophy after their Champions League semi-final exit to Chelsea and a humiliating early elimination from the Copa del Rey.

    With both Atletico and Real's games kicking off at 17:00 BST, it points to an exciting end to the season.

    Ligue 1: Will Lille hold on?

    Three teams separated by three points with one game to play – will Lille hold on and end Paris St-Germain's dominance?

    PSG have won Ligue 1 seven times in the previous eight seasons – Monaco were champions in 2016-17 – but start the final day on 79 points, one behind leaders Lille.

    Last season, PSG were awarded the title after it was announced the season would not resume because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, they were 12 points clear of nearest rivals Marseille, who had 10 games left.

    Lille have a one point lead going into the final day of the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season

    On Sunday, only a win will guarantee Lille are crowned champions, but this fascinating title race could still see the top three all finish on 80 points if Lille lose, PSG draw and Monaco win.

    Unlike in Spain, goal difference would decide the title. That would favour Mauricio Pochettino's PSG, who have the advantage on their two title rivals.

    French Cup: Mbappe scores and assists as PSG beat Monaco

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    Captain Jose Fonte, the former Crystal Palace, Southampton and West Ham defender, told BBC Sport it would be a magnificent achievement for Lille to win the title.

    "Although we don't have a Neymar or Mbappe or superstars on massive wages who can score 20-30 goals a season, we have a team," he added.

    "Hopefully we can finish the job and have this fantastic story to remember for the rest of our lives."

    Race for Ligue 1 – last-day fixtures
    LILLE PARIS ST-GERMAIN MONACO
    Angers (away) – 12th in the table Brest (away) – 16th in the table Lens (away) – 6th in the table

    Lille will be confident of finishing the job at 12th-placed Angers (20:00 BST).

    At the same time, PSG are at relegation-threatened Brest and Monaco are away to sixth-placed Lens.

    PSG head into the weekend fresh from winning the French Cup for the sixth time in seven years by beating Monaco at the Stade de France – Pochettino's second trophy since taking charge in January.

    Monaco need both Lille and PSG to lose if they are to snatch the title. Even then, they require a big win at Lens because of their inferior goal difference.

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    May 22, 2021
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