Skip to main content

Football fever: Europe's big leagues serve up late drama

May 17, 2012 -- Updated 0953 GMT (1753 HKT)
Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas lifts the Spanish Primera Division trophy after Jose Mourinho's team defeated Mallorca 4-1 on Sunday. The 32-time Spanish champions finished the season with 100 points, a record amount. Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas lifts the Spanish Primera Division trophy after Jose Mourinho's team defeated Mallorca 4-1 on Sunday. The 32-time Spanish champions finished the season with 100 points, a record amount.
HIDE CAPTION
Real rule the roost
Villarreal vanquished
City win battle of Manchester
Bolton beaten
Delight for Del Piero
Farewell Filippo
Dortmund's double
Fortuna favors Dusseldorf
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Real Madrid end the Spanish season with a record 100 points after a 4-1 win over Mallorca
  • Villarreal, who finished fourth last term, are relegated following defeat to Atletico Madrid
  • Manchester City score twice in injury time to win the English title ahead of Manchester United
  • Alessandro del Piero and Filippo sign off for Juventus and Milan respectively with goals

(CNN) -- Sunday saw the curtain fall on Europe's biggest domestic football leagues, with scenes of triumph and despair across the continent as teams battled for glory or survival.

After a weekend which saw records broken and nerves shredded, CNN rounds up the final sets of fixtures in Spain, England, Italy and Germany and details the winners and the losers.

For many of Europe's leading players, the focus will now switch from club to country at Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland next month.

Spain

Real Madrid had already secured a 32nd Spanish title ahead of Sunday's final round of fixtures, but Jose Mourinho's team thrashed Real Mallorca 4-1 to finish the season on 100 points, a La Liga record.

The victory meant Real finished nine points ahead of archrivals Barcelona in second, who said farewell to departing coach Pep Guardiola with a 2-2 draw at Real Betis Saturday.

Valencia finished third in the table for the third season in a row, while big-spending Malaga, owned by Qatari Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Thani, clinched the fourth and final European Champions League qualifying spot.

Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy announced his retirement following Malaga's 1-0 over Sporting Gijon, after a career which has seen the prolific former Netherlands striker star at Manchester United and Real Madrid.

There was a shock at the bottom of the table, as 2006 Champions League semifinalists Villarreal slipped out of the top division for the first time in 12 years after losing 1-0 to Europa League winners Atletico Madrid.

Villarreal, who finished fourth last season, will be joined in the second tier by Sporting Gijon and Racing Santander, who placed 19th and 20th respectively.

Top goalscorer: Lionel Messi, Barcelona - 50

England

Manchester City scored two goals in stoppage time to beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 and pip neighbors Manchester United to the English Premier League title on goal difference.

Fans celebrate Manchester City's big win

United looked to have done enough to clinch a 20th title after Wayne Rooney's header gave them a 1-0 win at Sunderland.

Did City win the title - or did United lose it?

But in a dramatic finale Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero scored in the 92nd and 94th minutes to hand Roberto Mancini's City a first championship in 44 years.

QPR were battling against relegation, but their top-flight status was secured after Bolton Wanderers could only draw 2-2 with Stoke City.

Bolton needed to win to remain in the division, but the draw meant they were demoted alongside Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Behind City and United, Arsenal beat West Bromwich Albion 3-2 to secure the third and final automatic qualification berth for next season's Champions League.

Tottenham Hotspur finished fourth and Harry Redknapp's team will play in Europe's elite club competition next season if Chelsea, who placed sixth, lose to Bayern Munich in Saturday's Champions League final.

Top goalscorer: Robin van Persie, Arsenal - 30

Italy

Champions Juventus finished with a 3-1 victory over Atalanta, a win which meant the Turin club were undefeated throughout the entire 38-game Serie A season.

Manchester City wins EPL

The match was marked by a goal from the club's all-time leading goalscorer Alessandro del Piero, the 37-year-old striker who is leaving Juventus at the end of the season after 19 years with the Bianconeri.

Filippo Inzaghi was another Italian legend to sign off with a goal, as the 38-year-old found the net on his final appearance for second-placed AC Milan in a 2-1 win against relegated Novara.

Udinese's fourth straight victory, a 2-0 triumph at Catania, was enough for them to finish third and claim the last Champions League spot.

Lecce needed a win to have any hope of staying in the top flight, but a 1-0 loss to Chievo condemned them to Serie B football next season, alongside 19th-placed Novara and bottom club Cesena.

Top goalscorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, AC Milan - 28

Germany

Borussia Dortmund went into the final weekend of German domestic action having already sealed a second consecutive Bundesliga crown, and completed the double Saturday by winning the German Cup with a 5-2 victory over arch-rivals Bayern Munich.

Jurgen Klopp's team finished eight points ahead of Bayern, who will face Chelsea at their own Allianz Arena home in the Champions League final.

Schalke will join Dortmund and Bayern in next season's Champions League after cementing third place, while Borussia Monchengladbach will enter the qualifying rounds of the competition after finishing fourth.

Four-time German champions Kaiserlautern endured a miserable campaign, finishing bottom. Cologne will join them in Bundesliga 2 next season after finishing 17th.

Hertha Berlin were the third and final team to be relegated. The club from the German capital were beaten 4-3 on aggregate by Fortuna Dusseldorf, who finished third in Bundesliga 2, in a two-legged playoff.

It means Fortuna will return to the top division next season for the first time in 15 years.

Top goalscorer: Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Schalke - 29

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT