Coming into the final weekend of La Liga, there isn’t a ton at stake. The three teams that are set to be relegated have known they are going down for some time. Also, La Liga’s four Champions League spots have been determined as well as its two Europa League slots. All that’s left is pride at this point.
The most enticing match left on the schedule is between Real Madrid and Villarreal. Real Madrid has a chance to finish as high as third with a win and an Atletico loss, while Villarreal can edge Real Betis for fifth place. This will also be Real Madrid’s last match until its Champions League final with Liverpool in Kyiv, Ukraine.
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Villarreal vs. Real Madrid
Date and Time: May 19, 2018, 2:45 p.m. ET
Location: El Madrigal, Villarreal, Spain
US Television Coverage: beIN Sports
Betting Line: Villarreal PK -111, O/U 4
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After a tough start to the season, Real Madrid has recovered nicely. The club waved goodbye to any hope of winning La Liga long ago, but they still have a chance to win a trophy this year.
At the Bernabeu, success is measured in Champions League titles. Real Madrid has won three of the last four Champions League crowns and they have won 12 all-time, five more than any other European club. Their form has continually improved over the last few months. Real turned it around in La Liga action and knocked off three domestic champions on their way to the final.
Villarreal is on somewhat of a hot streak too. The Yellow Submarine have won four of their last five, with the lone loss coming to previously unbeaten Barcelona, and they have won three straight games at El Madrigal. They have felt confident about their spot in Europe for quite some time though.
Neither one of these big clubs has anything to really report on the injury front. Real Madrid welcomed two of their starters back to training this week. Forward Cristiano Ronaldo and right back Dani Carvajal had each been sidelined and both will be available. Ronaldo was dealing with an ankle injury that he picked up two weeks ago in their El Clasico clash with Barcelona, while Carvajal had been sidelined for a month with a tricky hamstring injury.
Villarreal has a full roster to work with too. Bruno Soriano and Ramiro Guerra were injured a few weeks ago, but both players are ready to take the field again according to reports. That will give manager Javier Calleja every option available to his disposal.
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What manager Zinedine Zidane decides to do with Ronaldo will be worth noting. Ronaldo is the most talented player on the pitch, but Zidane may not want to risk him for this tilt. He is just coming back from injury, and he will need his star at full health for their Champions League final.
Ronaldo is unlikely to play the full 90 minutes against Villarreal, if at all. Zidane may give him some run to judge his fitness and let him see some action. However, he won’t risk anything potentially bad happening to his player.
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In a normal situation, Real Madrid would likely be favored here. Real has looked great over the last two months and they would be looking for revenge after losing to Villarreal at home earlier in the season.
However, this game really doesn’t matter. Real Madrid is just looking to escape this match with Villarreal sans injury, and that gives the home side plenty of value. Take Villarreal on the moneyline and the three way line to win here.
Spanish La Liga Prediction: Villarreal 2, Real Madrid 1
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