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Real Madrid beware: Barcelona still able to snatch La Liga crown

The ESPN FC crew discuss whether Real Madrid will blow their La Liga title hopes on the final day.

Real Madrid's 4-1 win against Celta Vigo on Wednesday means they need just one point from their final game of the season at Malaga this weekend to claim their first league title since 2012.

If they lose, though, a win at home to Eibar would be enough to earn Barcelona a third straight title under Luis Enrique. And history shows the pressure of a final-day showdown can do funny things.

ESPN FC take a look at five times Madrid and Barca have scrapped it out on the final day of the season to be crowned champions of Spain ...

1991-92

Going into the final day:

1. Real Madrid 54

2. Barcelona 53

Final standings:

1. Barcelona 55

2. Real Madrid 54

Madrid were top since the seventh game of the season, but Barca managed to cling on to their coattails. Going into the final match of the campaign, Leo Beenhakker's Madrid had a one point lead and, some thought more importantly, the advantage of facing an already safe Tenerife side managed by a former Madrid player in the final match of the season. But Jorge Valdano -- who played over 100 games for Los Blancos -- had other plans. Gheorghe Hagi and Fernando Hierro goals set Madrid on their way to the title, but then came the twist, with Tenerife coming back to win 3-2. That meant Johan Cruyff's Barca -- who had not been top at any stage during the season -- were able to retain the title with a 2-0 win against Athletic Bilbao. It capped a hugely successful season, given the Blaugrana had won their first European Cup against Sampdoria at Wembley just two weeks before jumping ahead of Madrid at the top of the table in the most dramatic of circumstances.

1992-93

Going into the final day:

1. Real Madrid 57

2. Barcelona 56

Final standings:

1. Barcelona 58

2. Real Madrid 57

Lighting does strike twice, it seems. Once again Madrid led the way going into the final round of fixtures in Spain's top flight; once again they somehow contrived to lose to Tenerife on the final day of the season. Benito Floro was the coach this time but his side suffered the same fate as Beenhakker's the year before. They were beaten 2-0 by Tenerife, allowing Barca's 1-0 win against Real Sociedad to trigger a final day party at Camp Nou. It's in these two defeats to Tenerife that Barca will find hope in Malaga. Former Madrid player Valdano twice denied his former employers the league title. Could history repeat itself with Malaga coach Michel, who spent 20 years at Madrid as a player? "I'm more of a Madridsta than Valdano," Michel joked recently, before assuring that his in-form Malaga side would go out to win the game at La Rosaleda on Sunday.

Luis Enrique says Barcelona are still alive in the title race.

2006-07

Going into the final day:

1. Real Madrid 73

2. Barcelona 73

Final standings:

1. Real Madrid 76

2. Barcelona 76

It went to the final day in 2007 as Roberto Carlos and David Beckham signed out with a title. However, all the drama had happened in the penultimate week of the season. Madrid, leading Barca courtesy of their superior head-to-head record, were held by a Real Zaragoza side that included Gerard Pique -- and they would have lost but for Ruud van Nistelrooy's 87th-minute leveller. That meant Barca could have grabbed top spot, but they were held to a draw as well in the Catalan derby against Espanyol. Lionel Messi's two goals looked to have clinched the three points, but Raul Tamudo's 89th-minute goal snatched a draw for Espanyol and ultimately the title from Barca. Tamudo had also scored his side's first goal of the evening and the game is famously remembered in Spain as the Tamudazo. Both Madrid and Barca then won out on the final day of the season, with two-goal Jose Antonio Reyes helping Madrid come from behind to beat Mallorca 3-1. Having drawn 3-3 at Camp Nou, Madrid's 2-0 win over Barca at the Bernabeu meant Fabio Capello's side pipped Frank Rijkaard's to the title, ending a four year wait to finish top.

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid and Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 14, 2017. (Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo has put Real Madrid on the brink of glory but La Liga isn't quite over yet.

2009-10

Going into the final day:

1. Barcelona 96

2. Madrid 95

Final standings:

1. Barcelona 99

2. Madrid 96

There was no final day drama in 2010, despite expectations that Real Valladolid could not only save themselves from relegation, but also send the title to the Bernabeu. Neither ever looked on the cards, though. Pep Guardiola's Barcelona won 4-0 against Valladolid, Messi scoring twice, to take their trophy tally to seven out of nine under the Catalan coach. Madrid, meanwhile, perhaps aware of what was taking place at Camp Nou, could only muster a 1-1 draw at Malaga. It would have been cruel if Barca had messed up on the last day, leaving them trophy-less -- not including Super Cups and the Club World Cup -- in a season which saw them lose just once in La Liga and just four times in all competitions.

2015-16

Going into the final day:

1. Barcelona 88

2. Real Madrid 87

Final standings:

1. Barcelona 91

2. Real Madrid 90

It's incredible that Real Madrid even managed to take this title race to the last day. When Zinedine Zidane's side won 2-1 at Camp Nou at the beginning of April, they ended Barca's 39-game unbeaten streak in all competitions and cut their lead at the top from 10 points down to seven. With just seven games to go, though, few even battered an eyelid. But Barca then lost again and again, against Real Sociedad and Valencia, and Madrid kept on winning. They ended the season with 12 straight victories, including a final day win over Deportivo La Coruna, which obliged Barca to win, too. Luckily, after losing to Valencia at Camp Nou they managed to get their act together, ending the season with five consecutive wins, 25 goals for and none against. A 3-0 win at Granada ensured a sixth title in eight years and the second under Luis Enrique. Zidane's side couldn't quite catch them, but their relentless form at the end of the campaign was a sign of what to expect this season.

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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