By Tim Stannard
Ronald Koeman's days look done and dusted as the Dutch coach pushes Messi further away from Barca
Diego Simeone was not the only extremely relieved coach in LaLiga to see Luis Suarez pop up to score a late winner for Atletico Madrid, to keep the Rojiblancos at the top of the standings going into the final round of LaLiga.
Ronald Koeman might have exhaled a whopping sigh of relief too, as a goal from the striker he moved out of the club last summer prevented a really bad day for the Dutch coach and Barcelona getting even worse. You'll have to hear Sports Burst out on this one.
The 2-1 home defeat to Celta Vigo sees Barcelona out of the title race next Sunday irrespective of the Atletico Madrid result in the Wanda Metropolitano. However, had Atletico only drawn their match against Osasuna and Barcelona had beaten Celta Vigo, then it would have been game-on for Barca's title chances on the last day. Of course, Barca's own incompetence prevented that scenario but at least the goal from Luis Suarez removed that 'what if' scenario. Even if Barca had beaten Celta Vigo the team would have been passengers next Sunday.
That rather convoluted theory doesn't really make the immediate future look any better for Koeman, whose team had repeated chances to hang tough in the LaLiga title race but won just the single game in five and contrived to lose at home to Granada and Celta Vigo. And blow a 2-0 lead at Levante. Don't forget that one.
It's no wonder that Lionel Messi stormed straight off the Camp Nou pitch - for the last time? - after the loss. “We hope he will not leave because he is still the best player in the world as he has shown today,” said a sombre Koeman after the match.
Unfortunately, it looks increasingly unlikely that Koeman will be around to coach Messi next season if the Argentinean ace does decide to stay on. Although Xavi Hernandez recently signed a new coaching deal with Qatari club Al-Sadd, a clause to allow the former midfielder to become Barca's fourth manager in less than two years could be sought and activated after Koeman showed an inability to clinch when it was clutch.
The live edition of The Locker Room will look at where it all went wrong for Barcelona on beIN XTRA - for free - at 6PM ET / 3PM PT.
Zizou denies departure confession to players
While Koeman was unwilling to dredge up the topic of his future, it was the same situation for Coach Zizou. There was a story published in the Spanish press that the Real Madrid coach had told his players last week that he would be leaving at the end of the season. Again.
However, it was poo-pooed by the French manager after the 1-0 win at Athletic Club - "why am I going to tell my players that I am going now, if we are playing for everything and I'm going to say that I'm off."
However, there was no clear indication that Zizou was staying on for the final year of his contract, meaning that there may be an even bigger dramatic end to next Saturday's LaLiga title race finale.
That is going to be hefty enough in itself with the two Madrid teams separated by just two points. The Rojiblancos, currently leading the way, are at relegation-threatened Real Valladolid while Real Madrid travel to a Villarreal side that clinched a Europa League place on Sunday and will have a Europa League final in mind just a few days later.
Although Atleti do hold that two-point lead, a draw will not be enough on Saturday due to Real Madrid holding a superior head-to-head record which works in their favor in the event of a tie.
PSG could clinch domestic double this week
The topsy-turvy nature of life might be swinging in Mauricio Pochettino's direction again. On Friday it was a case of Poch Out! at PSG but in a week's time, the Argentinean coach might have lead PSG to a domestic double.
Lille's stumble on Sunday has given PSG a chance of still clinching the Ligue 1 title. If PSG overcome Brest - no sniggering - and Lille fail to win, then the title is PSG's. But if Lille get a win over Angers, then the title goes to Les Dogues no matter what PSG do.
However, PSG might get a midweek boost on Wednesday with the Coupe de France final against Monaco which is live on beIN SPORTS from 3:10PM ET / 12:10PM.
Interesting note here. If Lille lose by a lot next Sunday and PSG lose as well, and Monaco knock in three or four, then Monaco can be champions of LaLiga. Fancy that.