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SEASON REVIEW 2013/14: LIGA BBVA

10 Jun 2014
Interesting season at Primera with Atlético Madrid snatching the title from Real Madrid and Barcelona FC; great return of Villarreal CF. Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla CF were the other big winners, while the big failure was Real Betis.

Atlético Madrid conquered the la liga title for the season 2013/14, only losing four games and adding 90 points. So, for the first time in a decade, a club different from Real Madrid and Barcelona FC have clinched the title in Spain. And it happened just in the middle of the controversial distribution of the TV incomes, which allowed the two big giants to add all the titles since Valencia CF did it for the season 2003/04.

The Madrilenians had a big budget (around €147 million), but it’s nothing compared to the one of Real (€507 million) and Barca (€457 million). So, it’s considered as a big success for coach Diego Simeone and his block of players, led by Diego Costa, the third best scorer in the league with 27 goals, only behind stars Cristiano Ronaldo (31) and Lionel Messi (28).



The goal that meant the title for Atlético Madrid

And the great season of Atlético Madrid wasn’t reduced to the league competition, because they also reached the final in the UEFA Champions League, though this trophy was for Real Madrid, club that finally clinched the so famous “La Decima”. Los Blancos also clinched the Copa Del Rey, leaving Barcelona FC empty handed for the first time since 2008.



Ramos celebrating his goal in Champions: Real Madrid a big winner on the season with two titles


Barca won the two Clásicos in liga, but lost the final in Copa del Rey


There were other three big winners, starting with Athletic Bilbao; the Basques ended fourth at the standings and qualified to the Champions League for the second time after playing the edition 1998/99. Coach Ernesto Valverde completed a great work as his team was solid enough to only lose eight games.



Athletic Bilbao celebrating the qualification to the Champions League

Sevilla CF also lived a remarkable season; coach Unai Emery had a tough start as his team only added two points within the first five games, but later the Andalusians reacted and clinched a rally of six straight wins that put them among the first places. They also won the UEFA Europa League –their third European success- and they will be able to defend the title after ending fifth at the table.



Sevilla CF won the Europa League

The other big winner was Villarreal FC; the Valencians ended sixth and qualified to the UEFA Europa League, a major success as they were a recently promoted club, actually it’s the best position for a new comer since RC Celta also ended sixth during the campaign 2005/06, which explains the success of coach Marcelino García Toral.



Villarreal CF; the best newcomer within the last 8 seasons

It cannot be said that it was also a great season for Real Sociedad, though neither was negative. The Basques ended four on the previous campaign, but didn’t pass the group stage of the Champions League and, despite playing brilliantly at some point on this season, they could only won 2 of the last 8 games, so the Txuri-urdin outfit could only end 7th, though with the reward of playing in the next UEFA Europa League thanks to the fact that both finalists in Copa were already qualified to the Champions League. The Basques also made a great campaign in Copa reaching the semifinals.

Valencia CF is one of the disappointments, unstable throughout the season and punished for been the fourth worst visiting team in the league, Los Ches ended eight, which means out of the Champions League for the second straight time and the worst part: without European football. To make things worse a late goal by Sevilla pulled them out of the final in the Europa League. At least the rival of big investor Peter Lim -he’s paying €94 million- invites to be optimistic ahead of future seasons.



Valencia CF after been eliminated in Europe

Then there’s a group of four clubs that should be satisfied with their season: RC Celta, Levante UD, Malaga CF and Rayo Vallecano. The Galicians suffered trying to avoid relegation during the first round, but an impressive second round –the fifth best team in the second part of the season- pulled them into the ninth place.



Nolito was the Pichichi at Celta with 14 goals in favour

Similar was the situation for Rayo Vallecano, club that suffered 13 defeats in the first 19 games, but that ended the second round as the seventh best team in the period. And it’s that the Madrilenians won 7 of the 10 games disputed between matchdays 26 & 35, reason why they arrived to the list three matchdays with the salvation already accomplished.

These are dark days for Malaga CF; the Andalusians were the surprise in the previous Champions League, but their financial mess lowered the level of the team and could only end 11th, though they should be content as they avoided relegation troubles. Perhaps one of the most balanced teams in terms of results was Levante UD, the team coached by Joaquín Caparrós lived almost the entire season at mid-table despite a 0-7 loss in the opening matchday before Barcelona FC.

Then the history of the five clubs that avoided demotion in the last two matchdays: Getafe CF, RCD Espanyol, Granada CF, Elche CF and UD Almeria. They should be happy with clinching the promotion, though RCD Espanyol should be worried as they only added two points within the last eight games. They should have certified the permanence before, but only did it until matchday 37 (1-1 Vs. CA Osasuna). For this reason coach Javier Aguirre won’t be renewed for new campaign.



UD Almeria celebrating the permanence

Getafe CF and Granada CF are a proof that a good first sometimes it could be deceiving. Both teams won 7 of the first 19 games and were in a comfortable position at the midpoint of the season, but later they were among the four worst teams in the second round, reason why they had to suffer until the end.

More satisfying was the season for UD Almeria and Elche CF despite clinching the permanence until the end. Both recently promoted clubs survived and did it with low budgets. UD Almeria had the smallest budget at Primera (€18 million) and survived despite been the second worst defense in the league (71 goals allowed). The budget of Elche CF was the fourth lowest (€22 million) and also survived despite this was their first season at the elite since the campaign 1988/89.

The three recently promoted clubs from the previous season were safe, which meant that a trio of historic clubs suffered the demotion. Starting with Real Betis; after a great year in which they qualified to the UEFA Europa League, the Andalusians completed their worst year at Primera, only winning 6 games and suffering 25 defeats, plus been the worst defense (78 goals allowed). They ended at the bottom and was the only team without chances of salvation within the last three games.



Ex-Depor Rubén Castro only scored ten goals and couldn’t avoid Betis’ demotion


CA Osasuna and Real Valladolid are also going down and do it after failing at the end of the season. The Navarans return to Segunda after 13 years at the elite; they were close to clinch the permanence, but failed to defeat Real Valladolid (0-2) and RC Celta (0-2) at home and only won 1 of the 7 games between matchdays 31 & 37. In the closing game they beat Real Betis (2-1), but it was too late.



Osasuna is going down after 13 years at the elite

The case of Real Valladolid was also incredible, they were out of the pit by matchday 33 and even got a valuable 1-1 draw hosting Real Madrid, but unexplainably they failed visiting Real Betis, match in which they were leading three times in the scoresheet to end losing 4-3, and then only needed a win the closing match at home before direct rival Granada, but suffered a 0-1 loss that pulled them down after only two years at Primera.

ARCHIVE NEWS JUNE/14

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