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

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

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.


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


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.

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

Fans celebrate Manchester City's big win
Fans celebrate Manchester City's big win


    Fans celebrate Manchester City's big win


Fans celebrate Manchester City's big win 03:23

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


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.

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.

Manchester City wins EPL
Manchester City wins EPL


    Manchester City wins EPL


Manchester City wins EPL 02:47

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


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