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ANALYSIS: LIGA BBVA 2011/12

15 May 2012
Real Madrid broke the latest supremacy of Barcelona FC and clinched a new title in liga; Malaga will have the privilege to play the Champions League, Levante enters in Europe, while Racing, Sporting and Villarreal are the three relegated clubs.

Life didn’t change at Primera División for the season 2011/12, because Real Madrid and Barcelona outplayed the rest of clubs in the tournament; the thing that changed was the name of the champion, because after three straight titles the Catalans ended as the runners-up while the Madrilenians clinched their title number 32 in la liga. Madrid also reached two historical marks: 100 points in 38 matchdays, plus breaking the all-time record of goals in favour (121).

Once again all eyes were upon Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Argentine star broke all the record books scoring the impossible number of 50 goals, while the Portuguese scored 45 times. Barca still has to play the final in Copa Del Rey against Athletic Bilbao, but should feel disappointed as charismatic coach Pep Guardiola is leaving. The Madrilenians should also feel a bit sad as they missed the final in the Champions League.



Real Madrid celebrating the title after beating RCD Mallorca on Sunday

Another thing that didn’t change was the name of the third place: Valencia FC. For the third time in a row Los Ches ended third at the standings earning a direct spot for the UEFA Champions League. Coach Unai Emery is leaving the club after four years, and the new man in charge is former player Mauricio Pellegrino.

The big novelty is that Malaga CF ended fourth at the standings making profit of the big investment made by the new owner of the club, Al-Thani. So, the Andalusians will play the qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League, it’s just their second presence in Europe –also the 14th Spanish team that takes part of the biggest club’s tournament  in Europe-



Rondón scores the decisive goal against Sporting that gave to Malaga the ticket for the Champions League

Atletico Madrid couldn’t reach the Champions League, but can’t complain of its season as it conquered the UEFA Europa League, their second European title within the last three seasons. They ended fifth at the standings.

More resounding was the sixth place of UD Levante, without doubt the revelation of the season; the Valencians made a great tournament and ended sixth at the standings, which means that for the first time in their 80 years The Granotas will take part of a European competition, a big achievement for a club on administration. –They are the 28th Spanish team that plays a European competition-



Levante’s players celebrating after the 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao ended at midpoint of the standings, but also made a positive season, reaching the final in Copa Del Rey and in the UEFA Europa League, run that included unforgettable moments eliminating Manchester United  FC and FC Schalke 04. Still, they could end empty handed if they don’t defeat Barcelona CF in Copa.

At the other side, the biggest disappointment of the season was Sevilla CF, the Andalusians could only end ninth at the standings; CA Osasuna and RCD Mallorca caressed the European glory, but ended out of the top positions during the last matchdays of the season. Getafe CF and Real Sociedad ended in nowhere land, but clinching the goal of the permanence without too many hurries.

Real Betis, Rayo Vallecano and Granada CF were the recent promoted clubs for the season, and they clinched the permanence in a dramatic final matchday for the latter two clubs. It means that for the third time in two decades no recent comers from Segunda are suffering the relegation. The last time this happened was on th season 2000/01 (Las Palmas, Osasuna and Villarreal).



Raúl Tamudo on the ground celebrating the last-minute goal in the game with Granada; result that meant the permanence for Rayo

RCD Espanyol was another disappointment on the season; at the middle of the tournament the Catalans were living inside Europe, but they ended closer to relegation than to the European zone. Real Zaragoza starred a new miracle and for the third straight opportunity they saved themselves at the last matchday of the regular season.

The shocker of the tournament is without doubt the relegation of Villarreal CF, the former semifinalist of the Champions League is returning to Segunda after eleven years at Liga BBVA. It’s the newest case of vertigo at Spanish football because, as it happened to RC Celta, the yellow submarine is going down in the same year in which they were playing the Champions League, also with Miguel Ángel Lotina involved in the tragedy.



Villarreal’s Marco Rubén cries after missing a last minute chance in the match with Atletico, a goal that would have meant the permanence

Less surprising is the relegation of Sporting Gijón ad Racing Santander, two clubs that have been fighting for the permanence within the last years. The Asturians are going down after four years at the top flight, while the Cantabrians were the worst team in the league and are returning to Segunda after a decade at the elite of Spanish football. Now, the only thing to be defined ahead of the season 2012/13 is the names of the three clubs that will be promoted from liga Adelante.

ARCHIVE NEWS MAY/11

ZAPPING

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