As the season in the Spanish top flight draws to a close, we look ahead to what promises to be a sensational finale.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. It wasn't supposed to take this long. It never takes this long.
All season long, many were forecasting the week when Atletico would crack under pressure and fall behind Real and Barcelona. Only Atletico never cracked.
In fact, going into the last weekend of the season, Diego Simeone’s side lead La Liga by three points. Barcelona are second.
How did we get here?
On Saturday, May 3, Barcelona drew with Getafe, effectively ending their season. An injury-time header summed it up: they wasted chances, looked uninterested and conceded twice. ‘We're f****d’, midfielder Xavi told reporters after the match. ‘Except for a miracle, we have lost the league’.
That miracle arrived a day later.
Levante beat Atletico 2-0, and Real needed a Cristiano Ronaldo back-heel to draw 2-2 with Valencia. Not since March 2013 had Barcelona, Atletico and Madrid all failed to win on the same weekend.
Atletico clawed back to draw 1-1 after conceding first at Malaga, while Celta Vigo - managed by Luis Enrique, the man rumored to be Barcelona's manager next season - beat Real 2-0.
The league, which Barcelona seemed to write off a week ago, seemed to be within their reach. All they had to do was win. But once again, they were wasteful and lethargic in their draw at Elche.
Once again, the title race was back on.
Only one game separates Atletico from the title. Only one game separates Barcelona from the title. It is the last game of the season, when they play each other.
A Barcelona win at the Nou Camp and the league is theirs. Any other result would give the title to Atletico.