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Soccer-Spain’s big three resume title race after burning bridges over Super League

MADRID (Reuters) – After angering La Liga by signing up to the European Super League, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona continue the closest title race in Europe this weekend amid accusations of greed from the league’s other clubs.

Real went top of the standings on Wednesday with a 3-0 win at Cadiz after getting a frosty reception from the home supporters, who shouted “money grabbers” at Zinedine Zidane’s side as they arrived for the match.

They next host a game on Saturday against fifth-placed Real Betis, who caused a stir on social media shortly after the breakaway league was announced by issuing an ‘updated’ version of the Liga table without Real, Barca and Atletico.

Betis coach Manuel Pellegrini, a former Real Madrid manager, did not hold back on his thoughts on the Super League, calling it “an idea to destroy national leagues”.

Real and Barca are the only teams among the Super League’s 12 founding members yet to withdraw from the project and Real president Florentino Perez insists the plan is not dead yet.

Real top La Liga with 70 points but Atletico have a game in hand and can reclaim their place at the summit when they visit struggling yet resurgent Huesca later on Thursday.

Atletico, who aborted involvement in the breakaway league on Wednesday and apologised to fans for causing “confusion”, then face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday in what looks the toughest away game of their run-in before the visit to Barca on May 8.

Sevilla, who still have a slim chance of winning the title and went third on 67 points after Wednesday’s 1-0 victory at Levante, are the only side in the race who did not sign up to the Super League. They host Granada on Sunday.

Barca are fourth on 65 with two games in hand of leaders Real and host Getafe on Thursday before Sunday’s game at Villarreal, who have also lashed out at the league’s three biggest sides for plotting the Super League.

“Florentino (Perez) is selfish, selfish and selfish again,” said their president Fernando Roig.

“He only thinks about Real Madrid. But Villarreal doesn’t need Florentino to come and save it. Any outcome which is not earned by sporting merits doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

Real declined to comment on Roig’s statements. Perez has said the Super League was a way to “save” football from the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Reference