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04.04.2007 11:00

Record book favours Barça

In 9 of the last 10 seasons, the team at the top of the table after 28 matches went on to lift the Liga title, the exception being in the 2003-04 season. Recently, every time Barça led the table after matchday 28, they went on to clinch the title.

EUFxRIA_LLIGA_98-99.jpgSeasons 97-98, 98-99, 04-05 and 05-06 all demonstrated that Barça was able to hold on to their lead during the final ten matches. In fact the teams managed by Louis van Gaal and Frank Rijkaard were proclaimed champions with two or three matches still to play. The present season looks like working out the same way.

Deportivo’s league title

In the 1999-2000 season, the Deportivo side managed by Jabo Irureta won the club’s one and only league title and, in doing so, fulfilled the prophecy that whoever leads after 28 matches normally goes on to take the title. However, Deportivo were under great pressure from Barça and the title wasn’t decided until the last game.

Madrid the only exception

The only exception to the rule in the last ten years was Real Madrid in the 2003-04 season. The team managed at the time by web_final_2.jpgcurrent Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz, had a comfortable lead at the beginning of April but an unexpected defeat in the Cup final against Zaragoza unsettled a team that went on to win just one of their last ten games. Rafa Benítez and Valencia made a late sprint to snatch the title from Real Madrid, who eventually finished below FC Barcelona.

web_20.jpgHowever, under Vicente del Bosque, Real Madrid did go on to win the league in the 2000-01 and 2002-03 seasons after leading with ten games to go, as did Valencia in the 2001-02 season.
Record book favours Barça
Other precedents
If we go back even further than the last ten seasons, Barça has made a habit of winning the league in the same conditions. English coach Terry Venables led his team to victory in the 1984-85 season while the case of the so-called ‘four leagues’ of Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team was even more spectacular. Barça led the way after 28 matchdays on two occasions while Real Madrid and Deportivo had the advantage in the other two, with Barça snatching the title at the last gasp.

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