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Malaga are officially down, Las Palmas essentially so

The froggies aren’t safe yet, but are close....

Argentina v Croatia - International Friendly
What happens to this guy now?
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Jornada 33 in La Liga is over and we have our first officially-relegated team; Malaga are down after losing 1-0 to Levante. The boquerones have been members of the Primera for all but two years (2006-08) since 1999, but now they will return to the Segunda next season.

Malaga’s stay in the Primera has been interesting; in 2010-11 they spent €96m on players, they then brought in a net €130m over the 2012-17 period. But eventually the pipeline dried up, and the team they’ve fielded this season has looked pitiful. (Not that Villarreal will be sorry to see them go; Malaga’s only preseason win was against the Submarine, and their only win in the last five months was against us as well). Pretty much anyone who would nbe an intreresting pickup is on loan, so....

Another last-second goal in Seville gave Real Betis a 1-0 win over Las Palmas, and while they could theoretically avoid the drop, they’re done for sure also. Not sure what that will do to Loïc Remy, who is playing at Getafe on loan from the islanders; Jonathan Calleri is on loan at Las Palmas from the Uruguayan team that serves as a rent-a-player conduit, so who knows where he will go next. Other than that, their roster is basically Segunda material, though I wonder if someone will take a flutter on Jairo Samperio.

And then there is Alen Halilovic. He has a contract with Hamburg until 2020; Las Palmas have a buying option for €4m (they won’t use that, being relegated), Barcelona have a buyback option until this summer for €10m (no idea why they would do that), and...Hamburg are being relegated themselves from the Bundesliga for the first time ever, barring a miracle. Not sure what all that will mean for the 21 year-old Croatian.

Levante are now on 34 points, still seven ahead of Depor, who are gamely trying to get out of 18th, but are getting no help. The team struggling the most at the moment is Espanyol (two league wins in 2018), two points ahead of Levante and nine ahead of Depor. They should be okay (and they have home matches against the two dead-in-the-water teams), but I’d sure laugh my head off if they ended up getting relegated.....