BarcelonaThree games and a ticket to relegation to the Second Division. Espanyol will close the course of his return to Primera as a judge in the final outcome of the relegation (8 pm, M. LaLiga). The white-and-blues will be able to face the appointment calmly after having fulfilled the minimum objective of this course, the permanence. The Spanish season is just right, especially for the performance of the team away from home. With the team much closer to relegation than from Europe, he is sending a message to the noble offices: this summer he will need several reinforcements so as not to have to suffer more than necessary and to be able to opt for something more next season.
Like Espanyol, Osasuna and Alabès will not have any big qualifying goals in play in a last day in which the drama, the tension and the tears of happiness will be shared between Granada, Mallorca and Cádiz. All three matches will be played at the same time. The team of Aitor Karanka, who will be Espanyol’s rival, is the best of the bottom three to ensure permanence. First of all, because he is the only one who plays at home: Mallorca will close the course in El Sadar, and Cádiz in Mendizorrotza. Most combinations of results would allow Granada to follow another course in Primera. If he wins, he will do whatever happens in the other matches. If they draw, they will only go down if Mallorca and Cádiz win. If he loses, he will only certify the relegation if Mallorca wins and Cadiz scratches at least one point. Nuevo Los Cármenes will therefore host Espanyol with a gala atmosphere.
The white-and-blues arrive on the final day with some notable casualties. The most significant, by sanction, is that of Raúl de Tomás, who despite losing this match will share the Zarra trophy, which distinguishes the top Spanish goal scorer in the League, after tying 17 goals with Iago Aspas. The Galician had the opportunity to break the deadlock at Mestalla, but failed to score in the defeat against Valencia. In this way, RDT becomes the first player of Espanyol to obtain this distinction that the newspaper Brand distributes from 2006.
Pedrosa, Keidi Bare, Morlanes and Óscar Gil will also be out, with physical problems. All these absences reduce the potential of a Spaniard who, as the interim coach, Luis Blanco, acknowledged, did not need to prepare for this match “as if it were a final”. Two old acquaintances of Espanyol, Javier Aguirre and Sergio González, would surely be grateful if the team they helped to follow Primera a few years ago would give them a hand by scratching a point at Nuevo Los Cármenes.
The only incentive that Espanyol will have in this last day will be economic. The white-and-blues are only worth the victory to beat Rayo Vallecano and finish the league in twelfth place. In this case, the white-and-blues would receive about 8.9 million euros for the percentage of television rights that affects the final classification. The figure would drop to about 8.5 million if they finished thirteenth and up to 8.25 if they finished fourteenth. In other words, the difference between winning or losing against Granada can mean that the club will have or stop earning about 650,000 euros.
Caution with Diego Martinez
Another coach who will be quite attentive to Granada-Espanyol will be Diego Martínez. The Galician, who left the Andalusian team a year ago, is the main goal of the white-and-blue sports management to occupy the bench of Espanyol next season. ARA anticipated this week that it is an option that it likes very much and with whom it has been negotiating for days, but as far as this media has been able to find out, its incorporation is neither closed nor linked.
According to sources from the noble offices of Cornellà-El Prat, the negotiations are “difficult” and are still in a “preliminary” state. Authorized sources from Espanyol admit that it is a profile “that would fit” in what they are looking for, but also that it is a very coveted name both in the League and abroad. “He has a great box, he has just qualified Granada to the Europa League and has rejected important projects,” the club recalled. From next week, once the League is resolved, Espanyol will try to speed up to close the coach next year. The position of the white-and-blue entity is clear: a profile is sought above a specific name. That is, if the entity fails to sign Diego Martinez will try to find another option in the list of candidates who would meet the desired characteristics and profile.