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It's clear that Spanish soccer is as good as it gets. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are all in the last eight of the Champions League, and they legitimately might be three of the best teams in the world. There's still a month and a half of play left in La Liga, and though Real Madrid is the team that feels like is running away from the rest of the pack, there's still a lot of time left for things to change.
By all accounts, 21-5-2 is a great season for any team. Real Madrid though, has had better campaigns than this and has fallen into a few traps against teams you'd figure that it shouldn't be flailing against. Still, March was a good month for Los Blancos, and a 3-0 win to kick off April against Alaves has Madrid two points up and a match in hand over Barcelona.
Karim Benzema has been in fine form in recent weeks, and this team is starting to get a bunch of goals from places aside from Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo for a change. The concern is that players like James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos haven't had their best terms, particularly in La Liga, but there's no doubting the strength of this side and what's ahead.
Barcelona is the team in chase mode at the moment, and it's a relatively big underdog to win La Liga even though it's the favorite to win the Champions League with just eight teams left standing. The Catalan side is 20-6-3 with a +59 goal differential, but it's starting to look like a darn near impossible task to post a comeback against Real Madrid, especially knowing that Los Blancos would have to be less than perfect at least twice, if not three times the rest of the way to be run down.
Lionel Messi was banned for Sunday's match against Granada and was fortunate to walk away with a 4-1 victory for Barca's troubles. The squad is still incredibly talented with Luis Suarez and Neymar helping Messi up front, but all too often, this side really depends on its Argentine maestro to come up with big moments offensively.
On the defensive side, there are certainly some issues, as demonstrated by the five goals allowed to PSG in the Round of 16 in the Champions League. Gerard Pique isn't having his greatest season, nor is Sergi Roberto, and 24-year old Marc-Andre ter Stegen isn't proving to be the stalwart in the pipes that Claudio Bravo was for years and years at the Nou Camp.
Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are next in line with 58 points apiece, though the Atleti have the clear edge in goal difference between the two. All four of these top teams are going to find themselves in the UCL next season, while the fight is still on between Real Sociedad ( 49 points ), Villarreal ( 48 points ) and Athletic Bilbao ( 47 points ) for the two spots available in the Europa League.
Osasuna and Granada are sure to be relegated this season, as they have just 11 and 19 points respectively. Safety is currently set at 27, and the only team in the bottom three that seems to have a shot at catching that is Sporting Gijon, who has just 22 points and will need to get on its horse to avoid falling to the second division. Deportivo La Coruna, Leganes and very disappointing Malaga are all on 27 points and will be hoping that Sporting Gijon doesn't find a way to pick up a few results in the last nine matches of the year.
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