Barcelona are champions, what else matters? And we might as well even go on and tag the Barcelona side the team of the penultimate round of La Liga games, and we won’t be so far from the truth – especially after they pulled off a 1-0 win at the Vicente Calderon…But so much more mattered. Valencia and Sevilla were at the forefront of a fight for the final Champions League spot, while the battle at the bottom was fierce as always.
So in our usual fashion, we present to you our team of the round, acknowledging the efforts of some of the best performers in the penultimate round of football in La Liga.
Barcelona sealed the league title with a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid, but it could easily have been different if Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo wasn’t at his best. The 32-year-old made three saves, including two unbelievable saves. One of those saves – from a Giménez header earlier in the game which seemed to galvanise the Barca side, and they barely looked back from there on.
Right in front of Bravo in the Barcelona defence was Brazilian defender Dani Alves, who makes it back to back appearances in our team of the round. The former Sevilla man has had uncertainty regarding his Barcelona future, but he’s put all of that aside in recent weeks to push Barcelona to yet another league title. While Atletico Madrid proved resolute and did everything to thwart Barca, Alves was one of those on the champions’ side who continuously pushed for a goal.
They may not have got the required result, but Valencia will have Nicolas Otamendi to thank for getting them a point at home against Celta Vigo. His goal means Valencia maintained their lead over Sevilla – albeit by just a point – and remain in pole position for a final Champions League spot. The centre-back has had a fine campaign, and it was befitting he was the man to bail-out Los Che.
Goals win games. Infact, it gets even better when it comes from a defender, and gives a struggling team a strong platform. That’s what Alberto Lopo’s goal did to Deportivo La Coruna.
The veteran defender picked the perfect moment to score his first goal of the season two weekends ago in Depor’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao, but he went one better this time, making it two in two as Depor sneaked out of the drop-zone with a 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Levante.
Real Madrid may be down, but they certainly didn’t lack inspiration and bite in their final away game of the season at Cornellà-El Prat on Sunday as they trounced their hosts Espanyol 4-1. Cristiano stole the headlines for his hat trick, but Marcelo was also really impressive, scoring Real Madrid’s second with a stunning strike (after Espanyol had leveled), and showing solidity at the back too.
In midfield, free scoring central midfielder Vicente Iborra makes the cut, after he scored a brace for Sevilla in their comeback win against neighbours Almeria. The 27-year-old Spaniard certainly knows how to step up in the big games, and his goals mean Sevilla are still in the race to finish fourth.
Deportivo La Coruna’s Lucas Perez is alongside Iborra in midfield after he set up both goals for his side in their crucial 2-0 win over Levante. The 26-year-old was quite electric, and while he didn’t score, he proved decisive at the right time.
In attack no surprises to have Cristiano Ronaldo in the mix. Despite not winning the league title, the Portugese forward has had a great season on a personal note. He scored his seventh hattrick of the season, and went up to 45 league goals for the season – one away from his personal best of 46 goals. Ronaldo also set up Marcelo, therefore contributing to all of Real Madrid’s goals.
While Cristiano Ronaldo was scoring the goals in Catalonia, Lionel Messi was also busy, scoring the goal that gave Barcelona the title in Madrid. The Argentine was once again the best player on the field, and it was only deserving that he grabbed the lone goal.
Alberto Moreno came off the bench to score two late goals – with his two shots in the game – as Villareal sealed a 2-1 win over Malaga.
Jonathas rounds up our team after his brace for Elche against Athletic Bilbao. Elche eventually slumped to a 3-2 win, but the 26-year-old Brazilian was once again the man to give them hope, as he has all season.