Sheikh Al-Thani’s tweets on  the matter have got him in a  spot of bother.
Sheikh Al-Thani’s tweets on the matter have got him in a spot of bother. / AFP


A storm's brewing

  • La Rosaleda could well be where this year’s title is decided, but a lot of factors are at play and, whatever happens, it’s bound to be explosive

Prepare yourselves: an almighty storm is coming and Malaga will be the epicentre!

The forecast is that it will hit La Rosaleda on Saturday 20 or Sunday 21 May at a time yet to be confirmed (by the Spanish FA).

It is a man-made cyclone caused by a number of god-like figures in Madrid who have combined all of the components necessary - uncertain atmosphere, extreme undercurrents and an unstable air.

These are the elements that may make the Malaga/ Real Madrid game one of the most famous in Spanish footballing history.

If all of the equations are correct then Real will have to beat, or maybe just draw, with Malaga to become the 2017 La Liga champions. It sounds simple enough, pretty regular even.

The Spanish media have been quick to take into account some important side issues. It is a fact that Los Boquerones are managed by a Real Madrid legend in Míchel. He is Madrid-born, joined the club aged 13 and spent a decade and a half in their colours.

There are similarities to the scenario with Marcelino who managed Villarreal on the final day of last season in a game against his home-town club, Sporting Gijón. Sporting needed to win to avoid relegation; Marcelino’s approach was questioned and in the aftermath he lost his job.

It has also been widely reported that Malaga are due a bonus if their former player Isco wins a league title with Real Madrid. It could never have been envisaged that the deal struck in 2013, of one million euros per title, would have such a twist.

It has caused quite a stir between the Malaga president and the Catalan press.

It may not actually come down to this if Barcelona don’t keep winning their games. It may just be a guard of honour that greets Real Madrid rather than a footballing thunderstorm at La Rosaleda.

Barcelona have no pressure as Luis Enrique finishes off his farewell tour - it is all very chilled. They even allowed Javier Mascherano to take a penalty last week and he scored his first goal in seven years. It was like the Beatles allowing Ringo Starr the microphone.

We are in danger of allowing the side issues to cloud what could be an astronomical achievement, even for a club like Real Madrid. No club has ever won the Champions League in back-to-back years, Real haven’t combined the Liga and European double since 1958.

You have been warned. The storm is brewing; as it is with the Spanish FA, we have no idea exactly when the whole thing will kick off… The time and day has yet to be decreed, but when it hits it will be spectacular.