Barcelona would be champions if the season stopped now but want it to finish like everyone


With Barcelona only two points clear of Real Madrid at the top, just five points separating third place and seventh place, and nine points between the bottom six, LaLiga was heading for its most exciting conclusion in years.

So it’s hard to find anyone who does not want the campaign to somehow be played out in its entirety.

Even those who would actually benefit from drawing a line under the season with the table left as it is want it finished properly if at all possible. Barcelona would be champions if the season stopped now.

They would also be champions if the season was taken back to the halfway point, when everyone had played everyone once, but despite that, former Barcelona midfielder Gerard Lopez summed up the predominant desire to play on when possible in his Tuesday column in Diario Sport.

He wrote: ‘It doesn’t seem fair to me to claim the title [for Barca] now when it is still not properly finished. It should be played out as it was intended to be at the start of the season.’

Eibar sit 16th in the table, the same position as West Ham in the Premier League, but their coach Jose Luis Mendilibar told Sportsmail: ‘The priority has to be in following the instructions given to us by the health experts.

‘And we need to be patient. We can talk about would could happen, and what might be done but no-one can be sure of how this is going to end. It’s the time to wait and see [how things develop].’

Valencia would be one team who would benefit from the season being declared null and void rather than stopped. They would be back in the Champions League next season instead of on course to finish seventh.

But in an interview with CNA the club president Antil Murthy preferred to concentrate on Valencia’s exemplary approach to containing the virus.

The club owned by Peter Lim announced five members of staff had tested positive at the weekend for coronavirus after playing a Champions League game in Italy. The club banned all contact between press and players after that fixture.

Murthy said: ‘In spite of criticism from fans, press and the authorities, we banned all access to players and coaching staff to press and fans. It was a hugely unpopular measure in February. But it was the right decision.’


Speaking at the end of last week Real Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay turned his attention on the Copa del Rey final due to be played between his club and their Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao on April 18 but since postponed.

He expressed his desire for the historic final to be played with fans if possible. ‘We have to try to hold the match in front of fans,’ he said.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas insists the season will be played out to a conclusion.

He told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope: ‘We’re working on that other virus which is seeing what happens with our contracts around the world.

‘We have a very important week ahead. We have 100 different obligations with 100 operators around the world and, if there’s no broadcasting, there’s no earning.

‘We’re working to see if we can fit in some calendars in order to soften the economic blow that will arrive.

‘If the competitions are suspended, everything is revised and revenues are a lot lower.

‘All the budgets of the teams are going to be compromised if the season doesn’t get finished, but I’m convinced that it will get finished.’

Former Athletic Bilbao forward Gaizka Toquero is also in favour of the season being finished but he warned: ‘The problem the players have is that they have to be fit.

‘They can’t just resume the season after a month out because there would be loads of injuries. If things stop for two weeks that’s fine but it looks like being longer.’

Celta Vigo coach Oscar Garcia believes that conditions would however be the same for all teams if there is a restart after a lengthy lay-off. ‘There are a lot of uncertainties over when we can get back to training and restart the league,’ he said.

‘But I think everyone would be starting off from the same point, no one would have any advantage.’