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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Athletico Crawling Toward Ninth Title

MADRID -- After a hectic, emotional weekend, there is still everything to play for in the final round of matches in the Spanish league.

Leader Atletico Madrid has seen what was an 11-point lead at the half-way stage reduced to just two points and must win its last game at home against Albacete next weekend to guarantee its ninth title.

It's not a new situation for the club; seven of its championship victories have come in the last game of the season and the other in the penultimate game.

"We're closer to our object," said Atletico coach Radomir Antic, whose club has a cavalcade celebration planned if it takes the league.

Captain Roberto Solozabal will miss the match after picking up his fifth yellow card in the Tenerife draw.

"We need luck, but both Atletico and Valencia have played well enough to deserve this," said Valencia president Francisco Roig. His club must win at Celta Vigo and see Atletico lose to take its first title in 25 years.

Real Madrid is in a similar position: It must win at Zaragoza and see Tenerife lose at Sporting Gijon to grab a spot in next year's UEFA Cup.

Albacete needs to win to avoid the relegation playoffs. Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao, Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano are in the same position.

Two of them will have to face Mallorca and Extremedura from the Second Division. Hercules and Logrono has already guaranteed its promotion, changing places with Merida and Salamanca.

Emotional goodbyes over the weekend included Michel Gonzalez's tearful "adios" to Real Madrid fans in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with Michael Laudrup also warmly applauded. Predrag Mijatovic, the brilliant Montenegrin midfielder widely recognized as the best player in the Spanish league, said goodbye to the Valencia crowd. He is expected to join Real next season.

Johan Cruyff was not at Barcelona's game with Celta Vigo, but his son Jordi was. Jordi asked to be substituted three minutes from time and received a massive ovation from a crowd angry with the club management for firing the man who has been in charge at the Nou Camp for the last eight seasons.

More than 50 Barcelona fans were restrained by security as they tried to attack club vice-president Joan Gaspart before Sunday's game.

During the match, dozens of fans held banners carrying slogans against the club management and in favor of Cruyff, who was sacked on Saturday after eight years at the club.

Former England manager Bobby Robson, currently coaching Portugal's Porto, is set to replace Cruyff.


Internazionale has signed French international striker Youri Djorkaeff from Paris St. Germain, the Parisian club said on Monday.

Details of the transfer were not disclosed, but according to press reports in France and Italy, the 28-year-old Djorkaeff has signed for three years for an estimated $6 million fee.