Barcelona face Eibar tomorrow evening in the ultimate La Liga dead rubber. The Blaugrana had put themselves within a whisk of the title following their sensational run of form post-Christmas, when Lionel Messi hit a lick following an extended break back home in Argentina. But they’ve failed when it really mattered.
Barcelona dropped points in crucial games in the final stretch against the likes of Granada, Atletico Madrid, Levante and Celta Vigo, blowing any advantage and ceding the final-day battle to just Atletico and Real Madrid. The former hold the advantage, and will claim their second title of the Diego Simeone era should they beat Real Valladolid. Madrid will pounce on any slip-up.
“We’re looking to play the best game possible, even though the only thing we can do is win,” Ronald Koeman said pre-game in comments carried by Marca. “It’s the last one and I’d like us to finish the season with a win.”
Koeman is under serious pressure. He’d always seemed like a temporary measure, ever since he was appointed last summer. But good form, coupled with victory in the Copa del Rey, made it look like he was going to continue, only for Barcelona’s pivotally poor run of form to seemingly scupper that idea.
“I really don’t know if I’m going to continue. We agreed to talk at the end of the season. We’ll talk after the season tomorrow. I want to fulfil my contract. There are things to change that we’ve already done in this first season, but the final word is in the hands of him, the president. We’ll talk and we’ll see.”