The 2013/14 Spanish La Liga season marked a departure from recent tradition, as the stranglehold enjoyed by Real Madrid and Barcelona in recent years was unexpectedly broken by Atletico Madrid.
Spain dominated the European scene, with Sevilla’s victory in the UEFA Europa League soon to be followed by another Spanish triumph in the UEFA Champions League, the final of which will be contested by Madrid’s big two.
FIFA.com rounds up some of the most notable stats from an unpredictable La Liga season that went right down to the wire.
- the number of times that the Spanish title has been decided by a last-day duel between two championship challengers, with the visitors taking the honours on each occasion. Atletico Madrid maintained the tradition by going to the Camp Nou last Saturday and earning a draw against a Barça side that had to win to take the crown. The first of the two precedents occurred in 1946, when Sevilla went to Les Corts and secured the draw they needed against Barcelona. The Andalusians were on the receiving end six years later, when Atletico thwarted their title aspirations with a 1-1 draw in Seville, a result that was enough to give Los Colchoneros the title on that occasion.
th - the position in which Villarreal finished in an impressive first season back in the big time, giving them a place in next year’s UEFA Europa League. “I never thought we’d achieve something like this when I came to Villarreal,” said coach Marcelino Garcia Toral, who took charge of the side in January 2013 and steered them back to the first division just a few months later.
- the number of years that Athletic Bilbao have had to wait to return to the UEFA Champions League. Following the side’s disappointing 2012/13 campaign, former Bilbao player Ernesto Valverde returned to the club where he had begun his top-flight coaching career ten years’ earlier. Six years a forward with Los Leones, Valverde showed his appointment was a shrewd one by taking the Basque outfit back to Europe’s top club competition.
- the number of years that have gone by since Atletico Madrid won their last league crown. In doing so they ended the nine-year duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid, becoming the first other club to win La Liga since Valencia in 2004. And in scoring 90 points, Atleti eclipsed their previous highest tally of 87, achieved in 1996, when a side containing current coach Diego Simeone won a historic league and cup double.
- the number of goals Cristiano Ronaldo scored in sharing the European Golden Shoe with Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. This is the second time that the Portuguese has finished top scorer in Spain and the third time he has collected the continental award, having won it once at Manchester United.
- the number of points needed to stave off relegation to the second division. Betis suffered the dreaded drop on Matchday 35, with the other two slots only being decided on the final day, which began with five teams in danger. In the end it was Valladolid and Osasuna who bade farewell, having respectively spent two and 14 seasons in the top flight.
. - the percentage number of saves made by Levante’s Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas, the highest in La Liga. Navas pulled off a total of 156 stops during the course of the season, though the custodian who was beaten fewest times of all was Atletico Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian international conceded just 24 goals in his 37 appearances for Los Rojiblancos and kept no fewer than 20 clean sheets, more than any other keeper in the league.