Barca, Malaga prepare for night of farewells

It will be a night of farewells at the Nou Camp as the La Liga season comes to an end.

Manuel Pellegrini

Barcelona go into the game confirmed as champions but chasing the win which would take them to the 100-point mark, while Malaga have done enough - in footballing terms at least - to qualify for the Europa League next season, although that will only be secured if their appeal against a UEFA ban succeeds in the Court of Arbitration for Sport early next month.

The match will be Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini's last in charge of the Andalusian club, with the Chilean widely expected to be confirmed as the new boss of Manchester City in the near future.

Also waving goodbye will be Barcelona defender Eric Abidal. The club announced on Thursday that he was being released at the end of the season after six years at Barca which has seen them stand by him through a series of health problems.

He recently returned to action following a long lay-off while he underwent a liver transplant, having previously required treatment to remove a tumour from his liver in 2011.

Abidal has been offered a role on Barca's backroom team, but could opt to continue his playing career away from Catalonia. The club have confirmed on their website a series of plans to mark Abidal's farewell, including a guard of honour at the end of the game.

The match could also be goalkeeper Victor Valdes' last for Barcelona, having announced in January that he would not seek to renew his current contract which expires in the summer of 2014.

A decision will have to be reached on whether the club seek to sell him or allow him to leave for nothing.

"I know I owe an explanation to the fans why I have not sought to extend my contract," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday.

"I've been at Barcelona for 20 years and I will complete 12 years in the first team. I have been lucky enough to share a dressing room with the best players in the world.

"I understand that in a year and a half you can find the best solution between club and player. I'm open to finding the best solution.

"If someone has been upset by my actions - press, fans, partners - my sincere apologies."

Malaga can reflect on a good season after the financial problems which blighted the start of the campaign and led to the exits of star names like Santi Cazorla.

They will have star midfielder Isco and Ignacio Camacho available at the Nou Camp after both were temporarily released from Spain Under-21 duty.

A draw for Malaga will guarantee that they finish sixth, with Real Betis two points behind in seventh but with an inferior head-to-head record.



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