Ordinarily a combined 46 goals would be sufficient to win you the Pichichi trophy at least once over the course of two seasons – but Cristiano Ronaldo managed all of them in a single campaign and still missed out! His frustration is understandable as they weren’t enough to make him the league’s top scorer. There is only one man who could possibly have outscored him and that was Lionel Messi, who failed to net on Sunday and as a result concluded the season on 50 goals. Incredibly, the two players have scored 96 between them, which was more than the 18 other La Liga teams managed this season.
Real Madrid may have won the title a fortnight ago but their 4-1 win over Osasuna helped them reach a century of points – more than any other team in history. Los Blancos also scored more goals than in any other La Liga season and many more records have been broken along the way. They celebrated the title win in typical Madrid fashion – with an all-night party and an open top bus parade scheduled – José Mourinho is probably taping Sergio Ramos’ hands together already.
English champions Manchester City may have won the title in astonishing circumstances but Rayo Vallecano gave Spanish viewers a moment to savour in an unforgettable day of football. A 91st-minute Raúl Tamudo goal sealed three points and their La Liga survival, and relegated Villarreal in the process. Having started the season against City in the Champions League, Segunda division football awaits for the Yellow Submarines after Real Zaragoza continued their incredible run of form and sealed a final-day win at Getafe. It’s a long road back to their former glories and stars such as Guiseppe Rossi could be the beginning of a mass exodus at El Madrigal.
Boosted by Qatari owners, Málaga will now be playing Champions League football from next season. Their fourth-place finish means that they will have to get through a play-off prior to reaching the group stages for the first time in their history. Their victory, which relegated Sporting, put them two points clear of Atlético Madrid, who made a gallant effort towards the end of the season to catch Levante and Málaga, but fell just short. It is now the Europa League for the holders plus surprise packages Levante from next year.
As 2011-12 draws to a close with Pep Guardiola’s curtain coming down on the season in the Copa del Rey, there is plenty to look forward to next year. Tito Vilanova takes charge of Barcelona, looking to overturn Real Madrid in the title race and Champions League. Lionel Messi is a year older and more experienced and he could well be more potent than this year, plus David Villa returns and the next generation of Spanish talent will be blooded following the outcome of Euro 2012. Not to mention another season where European qualification and relegation can be separated by a win or a loss. Bring on the Supercopa!
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