European Leagues review
After heading into their final fixtures in pole position, Inter Milan and Barcelona held their nerve to sew up the league titles in Italy and Spain respectively. In France, Marseille may have been crowned some time ago but there were still European places up for grabs on the last day of action, while elsewhere Chelsea and Bayern Munich both completed doubles by lifting their domestic cups.
La Liga: Barcelona retain their laurels
Barcelona were hardly made to break a sweat as they posted a stylish 4-0 victory over Real Valladolid to successfully defend their trophy. Lionel Messi was a key contributor once again as he weighed in with a double to finish as the division's leading marksman on 34 goals. Real Madrid came in second after they could only draw 1-1 with Malaga, while third-placed Valencia ran out 1-0 winners over Tenerife.
The UEFA Champions League play-off berth ultimately went to Sevilla as they had an added-time Rodrigo Rios goal to thank for edging Almeria 3-2. The teenager's dramatic intervention thus kept Mallorca out of fourth despite their 2-0 win at Espanyol. Consolation will nonetheless come for the islanders in the form of a Europa League spot, and they will be accompanied in that tournament by Getafe, who took the capital derby spoils by consigning Atletico Madrid to a 3-0 reverse.
Top three: Barcelona (99 points), Real Madrid (96), Valencia (71)
Bottom three: Real Valladolid, Tenerife (both 36 points), Xerez (34)
Top scorers: Lionel Messi (34 goals), Gonzalo Higuain (27), Cristiano Ronaldo (26)
Weekend stat: 5 – More teams were threatened with relegation going into the final game than in any season since 1991/92, with Racing Santander, Malaga, Valladolid, Tenerife and Xerez all battling to stave off demotion. Ultimately it was the latter three clubs who failed to avoid the drop.
Ligue 1: Joy for Lyon and Auxerre
New champions Marseille bowed out in style thanks to a 2-0 win over bottom club Grenoble, but the real intrigue concerned the race to join them in the UEFA Champions League next term. Lyon and Auxerre came out smiling at the end of that particular contest, with Claude Puel’s runners-up downing Le Mans 2-0 to snatch a group-stage berth and AJA needing a last-minute winner to defeat Sochaux 2-1 and take a play-off spot. Beaten 2-1 away at Lorient, Lille dropped out of the top three and will have to content themselves with the UEFA Europa League.
Montpellier can also prepare for that competition after they triumphed 3-1 at Paris Saint-Germain to finish fifth, while Bordeaux missed out on Europe altogether due to a 4-3 loss away to Lens. At the bottom, Boulogne were able to bid farewell to Ligue 1 with their heads held high after seeing off Rennes 1-0.
Top three: Marseille (78 points), Lyon (72), Auxerre (71)
Bottom three: Le Mans (32 points), Boulogne (31), Grenoble (23)
Top scorers: Mamadou Niang (18 goals), Kevin Gameiro (17), Mevlut Erding, Lisandro Lopez (both 15)
Weekend stat: 100 – OM’s leading scorer in each of the last four campaigns, Mamadou Niang registered his 18th championship goal this season to bring up his Ligue 1 century and finish top marksman in the French top flight for the first time in his career.
Serie A: Inter still reign supreme
Inter Milan wrapped up their fifth consecutive league title and the 18th in their history courtesy of a 1-0 success at Siena, Diego Milito burying the goal that took them over the finishing line in first. Runners-up Roma pressed them all the way to the end and kept up the final-day pressure with a 2-0 win at Chievo, while third-placed AC Milan bowed out with a 3-0 defeat of Juventus that featured a Ronaldinho double.
As for Sampdoria, they saw off sixth-placed Napoli to make fourth spot their own and stamp a Champions League play-off ticket. That meant disappointment for Palermo, in fifth, though they ended their campaign on a high by overcoming Atalanta 2-1 and will join Napoli in the Europa League.
Top three: Inter Milan (82 points), Roma (80), AC Milan (70)
Bottom three: Atalanta (35 points), Siena (31), Livorno (29)
Top scorers: Antonio di Natale (29 goals), Diego Milito (22), Fabrizio Miccoli, Giampaolo Pazzini (both 19)
Weekend stat: 18 – Roma had scudetto glory in their sights for all of 18 minutes until Milito made the difference for Inter and paved the way for I Nerazzurri's 18th league crown.
Bayern Munich moved even closer to an historic treble by adding the German Cup to the Bundesliga prize they seized last time out. Louis van Gaal’s men made light work of fellow finalists Werder Bremen to record a 4-0 triumph and can now begin plotting victory in Saturday’s Champions League showpiece against Inter.
There was joy for Chelsea too as they secured their first ever league and FA Cup combination by retaining the latter trophy thanks to a 1-0 win over Portsmouth on Saturday. As against Manchester United in 2007 and Everton last term, it was Didier Drogba who delivered the winning strike, his free-kick handing the Blues their sixth FA Cup success and their third in the last four years.
Cluj put the seal on their second ever Romanian title with one game to go by seeing off International Curtea-de-Arges 2-1 on Saturday.
Basel lifted the Swiss Cup last weekend and they followed that up by clinching the Super League title away against closest rivals Young Boys, a 2-0 win taking them three points clear in the final round of encounters.