Madrid loss hands Barça title
© AFP

Barcelona were crowned champions for the 19th time as holders Real Madrid gifted the title to their bitter rivals after a 3-2 defeat at Villarreal. Real knew anything other than a win would see Barcelona lift the title, but Juande Ramos's side crashed to a third straight loss to hand the title to Barcelona.

It was Barcelona's second trophy inside four days, following their Kings Cup win over Athletic Bilbao on 13 May, as they notched a league and cup double for the first time since 1998. The Catalan giants can become the first Spanish side to win the treble if they can overcome Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final in Rome on 27 May.

"Our arch rivals are champions and we have to congratulate them," said Real defender Sergio Ramos. "It has been difficult preparing for these past few matches as we knew it would be difficult to do anything as they had such an advantage."

Villarreal move level on points with Valencia following the Real win - courtesy of a late goal from Joan Capdevila - to keep up their UEFA Champions League charge. Veteran French winger Robert Pires scored the 17th-minute opener with a rare header after Ariel Ibagaza had put in an enticing cross.

Our arch rivals are champions and we have to congratulate them.
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos

Real coach Ramos, who has acknowledged that he is unlikely to be in charge next season, was visibly disappointed with the first half showing and Gonzalo Higuain replaced Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Higuain had an immediate impact setting up Rafael van der Vaart, who has been a disappointment following a 13 million euro switch from Hamburg, for the equaliser a minute after the break.

Villarreal responded and Cani put the hosts back in front in the 63rd minute before Higuain equalised late on. Capdevila was the hero, scoring in the final minute after Real keeper Iker Casillas had dropped the ball.

Sevilla fire blanks
Earlier, third-placed Sevilla spurned a chance to secure a UEFA Champions League place as a result of a 0-0 draw at Osasuna. Sevilla needed a win to make sure of a place in Europe's premier competition, but fired blanks to leave coach Manolo Jimenez disappointed.

"We wanted a victory and are not happy to come away with a point," said Jimenez. "However, over a long season you have good games and bad ones. This was not a good one."

Sevilla move five points ahead of fourth-placed Valencia, who face Atletico Madrid, a point behind, on Sunday. Osasuna continue to hover above the drop zone sitting fourth from bottom three points clear of the final relegation spot. Their next game is a testing trip to Camp Nou to face newly-crowned champions Barcelona.

"Our European Cup final is at Camp Nou next weekend," said Osasuna coach Jose Antonio Camacho.

La Coruna salvage a point
Elsewhere, Getafe rued a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Deportivo La Coruna at the Riazor Stadium. Roberto Soldado put Getafe ahead in the first minute of the second half and the visitors looked set to move six points clear of the relegation places.

However, Riki levelled in the 85th minute as Deportivo La Coruna salvaged a point. La Coruna move two points off the top four although a UEFA Cup place looks the more realistic target.