May 13, 2014
La Liga Standings 2014: A Nail Biter Til The Bitter End

How to define La Liga standings at the end of the 2014 season? A nail biter. With three of the most exciting teams to watch in all of football -- Atletico Madrid (88 points), Barcelona (85), and Real Madrid (83) -- it's anybody's game with less than a handful of matches to play.

This past weekend something which hasn't happened since the end of the 2012/13 season happened, all three top contenders failed to win their respective matches.

On paper, Atletico, Barca, and "Los Blancos" were heavy favorites to win their matches against their lesser rivals, but things didn't quite turn out how most expected.

For Atletico and Real, it could be a case of trying to balance the excitement of reaching the UEFA Champions League Final last week and then having to put themselves in a completely different mindset and continue their battle for the La Liga leadership in the standings.

Atletico has been a surprise, there's no question about that. Not many picked the "other" Madrid team to be the leader of La Liga standings this far into the 2013-2014 season, most expected Messi with his Barcelona or Ronaldo with Real to be in that position.

Things could have been worse for the top-three teams in La Liga standings this weekend and right now, Ateltico is the team that has much to lose, mainly the number one position.

First it was Barca's day (or not, depending on who you talk to) when they drew 2-2, in a shocker, to 17th place Getafe. Nobody saw that one coming, though Barcelona has not been performing well lately.

On Sunday afternoon, Atletico Madrid, which hasn't lost a game since March, took a tumble and fell 2-0 to 10th place Levante and to ensure that the suspense remains, Real Madrid drew by the skin of their teeth, 2-2 against 8th place Valencia, only thanks to that crazy back-heel volley from Ronaldo, to keep "Los Blancos'" hopes alive.

Without anything to lose, the weaker teams played their spoiler roles to perfection.

Atletico needs only four points (two wins) to finish first in the standings and take La Liga, they are still sitting in the comfortable position, but they know that Barca and Real won't go down without a fight. However, Atletico is the only team with its fate in their own hands.

Real needs a miracle and is in the worst position in La Liga standings, even with the incomparable Ronaldo. They need the other two teams to fail, but the best thing for fans at the end of a very exciting 2014 season, is that Atletico and Barcelona play each other May 17, their last game of the season in Madrid. Real plays Espanyol away. You couldn't have planned for that, even if you tried.

[Image via Maxisport /]