La Liga: Chelsea target Gonzalo Higuaín staying at Real Madrid
Tom Wellman looks at rumours linking Gonzalo Higuaín with a move away from Real Madrid, and Lionel Messi's Pichichi bid
Higuain to stay at Real, says Mourinho
Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuaín has been linked to a number of clubs during the course of the season but his manager appears determined to keep him. He has scored vital goals alongside main strikers Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema but the Argentina international has frequently found himself on the bench and linked with a transfer away from the Spanish capital, with Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain touted destinations. But Jose Mourinho has insisted that Higuaín is staying and will stay for many years – the 24-year-old has scored 22 league goals this season.
European spots and Segunda places to be decided next week
Next week will be a bittersweet instalment of La Liga as the Spanish top flight concludes until late August – and there is still much to be decided. Málaga, Atletico Madrid, Mallorca and Levante all harbour hopes of Champions League football next season, with Sevilla and Osasuna looking to make an unlikely jump for the Europa League. Meanwhile, down at the bottom, Sporting Gijón will need a miracle, with Real Zaragoza, Rayo Vallecano, Villarreal and Granada all in danger of slipping down to the second tier. It is sure to be a weekend to savour until the European championship starts and Spain begin their bid to retain their crown.
Messi in pole position for Pichichi
Lionel Messi’s four goals against local Catalan rivals Espanyol moved him onto 50 league strikes, taking his tally to 72 in total for the season. Perhaps more importantly for the Barcelona striker, he is now five goals clear of Ronaldo in the race for the Pichichi trophy, awarded to the top scorer in the division. Messi dedicated his goals to Pep Guardiola, who is set to step down at the end of the season.
Valencia seal third spot and Champions League football yet again
They may have slipped up in the Europa League semi-finals but Valencia have made sure that they will not represent Spain in the same competition next season as Jonas’ strike secured a valuable 1-0 victory against Villarreal. Unai Emery’s team have now finished third for three successive campaign and look set for another cup-focused season as the La Liga title once again seems to be a two horse race between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Interesting battle to avoid the drop
Sporting look doomed in 19th place and three points adrift of safety but have an advantage going into the final day. They play already relegated Racing who have just four wins all season while Rayo Vallecano host Real Madrid. Zaragoza and Granada go to European chasing Mallorca and Osasuna respectively while Villarreal play the impressive Athletic Bilbao. The requirements to stay up will almost certainly change as frequently as Ronaldo changes his boots over the course of the day in what will be a final weekend to rival the English Premier League.