Gerard Piqué’s dream could come true tomorrow. Barcelona can relegate Espanyol with a win or a draw, sending the parakeets down to the second division for the first time in 27 years.
The defender is a frequent critic of Espanyol, his team’s crosstown rivals. Their fans hate him, even crossing the line on more than one occasion with offensive chants directed at his family.
He won’t have to worry about that tomorrow, when the Barcelona derby kicks off without fans in the stands. Barça will want to keep their title hopes alive with a win, but for bottom-of-the-table Espanyol, it’s about survival.
Eibar, Deportivo Alavés, and Celta Vigo are the lowest teams still in the safe zone, and they’re 11 points clear of Espanyol. With four matches remaining. the team that plays its home matches in Cornellà de Llobregat must win all four to gain 12 points, and hope that at least one of those teams can’t gain more than a single point, and that Mallorca and Leganés (in the relegation zone but ahead of Espanyol) don’t outpace them either. It’s a tough one.
This all means that even a draw will mean relegation for Espanyol. It won’t be celebrated by Barcelona, since it would all but confirm the title for Real Madrid, but it might tickle some supporters to know at least Espanyol will go down.
You can bet Piqué will be eager to go up for corners to try to put a dagger in the opposition’s heart.