Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o is hoping his team can successfully complete phase two of their treble bid by wrapping up the Primera Division title this weekend.
The Catalan outfit clinched the first silverware of the Pep Guardiola era with a 4-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final at the Mestalla last night and face Manchester United in the Champions League final in Rome on May 27.
In between, they hope to seal a first league crown since 2006 and can do so by avoiding defeat at Eto’o’s former club Real Mallorca on Sunday.
“Let’s see if on Sunday we can clinch the league title and then the Champions League. I want to win the league on Sunday,” said the Cameroon frontman, whose future at the Nou Camp was in doubt when Guardiola took over last summer.
He added on fcbarcelona.com:
“Who would have told me at the beginning of the season that after everything it would end up like this? I remember the pre-season, which was tough for me.”
Barca – who would have already clinched the trophy had they not conceded a stoppage-time equaliser against Villarreal last weekend – may be home and dry in the title race even before kicking a ball on Sunday, if two-time defending champions Real Madrid fail to beat sixth-placed Villarreal at El Madrigal on Saturday night.
Florentino Perez officially confirmed on Thursday he would be re-running for the Madrid presidency with the promise of a “spectacular project” to get the Spanish giants back to the elite of world football.
Also on Saturday, Sevilla can virtually assure third spot with victory at 17th-spotted Osasuna, who head into the match just two points clear of the drop zone.
Getafe, who are only one point better off than the Pamplona outfit, visit the Riazor to take on a Deportivo La Coruna side just one place off a Europa League berth.
The bulk of the action takes place on Sunday, with a crunch clash at the Vicente Calderon looking set to go a long way towards determining the recipients of the final Champions League spot.
Valencia currently occupy fourth place, one position and one point ahead of hosts Atletico Madrid. Atletico forward Luis Garcia is confident his team have the ability to finish fourth.
“The fact is that both teams are playing for a Champions League spot,” he said. “They’re arriving in good form, with their morale high, but we are also convinced that we can do it. “We have to be very focused, they have highly skilled players who can make the difference at any moment, but so do we.”
Los Che, who thrashed Real Madrid 3-0 at the Mestalla last Saturday, were further boosted on Tuesday by the return to training of David Albelda following three weeks on the sidelines.
They will be without David Silva, however, with the Spain international this week having been ruled out for “two to three weeks” with a thigh injury.
Luis Garcia admits Silva’s absence is good for his side but acknowledges Valencia will still pose a threat.
“Clearly Valencia have very good players,” he added. “(David) Villa is one of the footballers who is a reference point for them up front, but they also have (Juan) Mata. It’s good for us that Silva isn’t playing; he’s really made a lot of progress and I think that he’s a decisive player for them right now. In any case, if we do our job well, we shouldn’t have any problems.”
Also on Sunday, bottom club Numancia’s relegation will be confirmed if they lose at home to Recreativo Huelva and other results go against them.
Sporting Gijon currently occupy 18th spot but could escape the drop zone with victory over Malaga – provided Osasuna do not beat Sevilla.
Real Betis can all but assure their top-flight survival with three points at home to ninth-placed Almeria.
Finally, Copa runners-up Athletic visit Espanyol and Racing Santander host Real Valladolid.