Ronaldo closes in on goalscoring record as Racing save themselves

In Wednesday’s competition to see who can point out that Barça can win the title in a matter of hours in the most dramatic way possible, it somehow felt as if the heart of the Madrid press simply wasn’t in it.

Both Marca and AS have stuck the tiniest note informing readers of the situation below big, shiny pictures of Cristiano Ronaldo’s big, shiny face. “Pep is a point away from a third consecutive title,” mope Marca, below a headline detailing Atlético’s stumbling, bumbling attempts to qualify for Europe.

In the Catalan capital the smug levels are again at an EU standard-shattering high, with Sport predicting that “Today, we will be Champions!” with the paper fully expecting Pep’s Dream Boys to pick up the point needed at Levante to kick sand in Real Madrid’s face for yet another year.

Real Madrid’s 4-0 win over a truly hopeless Getafe on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning (to hell with these 10pm kick offs!) sees Barcelona actually having to get out of their comfy chairs and win the league title for themselves at Levante. But these trifling matters are of no concern in the Spanish capital at the moment, as Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick has made the Madrid man the favourite to finish the season as top league scorer. The Portuguese poacher has now popped in 36 goals in la Primera, putting him just two behind the record strike-rates of Hugo Sánchez (1989-90) and Zarra (1950-51).

Ten strikes in the last two matches for Madrid and Ronaldo’s remarkable streak of seven in those clashes has certainly put wood in Tomás Roncero’s pencil, with the AS man willing to swap actually being Champions for the infinitely better concept that “no-one can dispute that Madrid have the numbers of Champions.”

But all this is of no real concern to LLL - the relegation battle, which Getafe are very much part of after that depressing loss, is far more compelling. In a cheeky chat with the blog after the game the Coliseum midfielder, Derek Boateng, said that his team were going for a point in the Santiago Bernabeu, but that the plan never really came together and that “we’ll be back in training to correct the mistakes.” That could take some time.

Deportivo got the win they needed to slightly dig themselves out of trouble with a 2-1 victory at home over Athletic Bilbao after Xabi Castillo diverted a Juan Carlos Valerón cross into the defender’s own net with twenty minutes left.

The biggest winner of the night was Racing Santander, who moved themselves completely out of relegation danger with a 2-1 win over Atlético Madrid, a side who fulfilled the role of losers to perfection. “It’s incredible, it’s as if we don’t want to qualify for Europe,” confessed a bewildered José Antonio Reyes who was Kun Agüero’s partner-in-crime in Santander, with Diego Forlán only used as a second half substitute.

“Forlán had 35 minutes, 40 with injury time and you all saw him,” said Quique Sánchez Flores after the game to the press. “You’re the ones who have to be critics and judge the players, not me,” announced the Atlético boss in a major redefinition of his job requirements.

Málaga are within a janitor’s jam sandwich of staying up with a fifth successive win - this time over Sporting - and yet another goal for Julio Baptista to put the southern side on 45 points.

The second day of the midweek round of course sees the small matter of Barcelona potentially winning the title at Levante. But there is a more curious fixture kicking off at the same time, with Real Sociedad hosting Zaragoza. The visitors to San Sebastian are the latest team to be sitting uncomfortably in la Primera’s third-from-bottom spot after last weekend’s home defeat to Osasuna, whilst la Real are on 41 points and firmly in the ‘one more win will do it’ camp.

So of course, la Real midfielder Xabi Prieto is telling anybody who'll listen that the game is a ‘final’ - although the Basque team would have two more matches to get out of trouble, should they lose - with the club captain promising helpfully that his team “will be going for the win from the first minute”. Which is always good to know.

Relegated Almería host likely Champions League qualifiers Villarreal, while Hércules will be sent down to la Segunda if they don’t beat Mallorca, who themselves are looking for a point or two to ensure safety.

Valencia travel to Espanyol who are hoping to take advantage of Tuesday’s trips by Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid to catch up with the European places, and it’s the same story for Sevilla who are up at Osasuna, a team also involved in the footballing fisticuffs that is the relegation battle.