La Liga Review 2010/11: BarçaÃ¢ÂÂs big party & DeporÃ¢ÂÂs despair
The title-race had already been done and dusted for what felt like decades before BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs 1-1 draw with Levante that mathematically sealed the deal for PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys, to kick off three days that Guardiola promised would be packed with Ã¢ÂÂeating, dancing, laughing and a lot of singing.Ã¢ÂÂ In fact, it was like Ronaldinho had never left the Camp Nou.
However, the feuding and fighting was still rumbling on from ClÃÂ¡sico quadruple-header, the final leg of which being the 1-1 Champions League semi-final draw at Camp Nou that ensured Barcelona would be taking on Manchester United at Wembley, a concept Iker Casillas did not deal with very well at all.
Ã¢ÂÂThey robbed us here and there,Ã¢ÂÂ complained the Madrid captain on a number of refereeing decisions he had taken a dislike to. Ã¢ÂÂThey took away our final.Ã¢ÂÂ
The bitterness from both sides of the camp caused many in Spain, including Vicente Del Bosque, to fret over whether the fall-out from the matches would seep through and contaminate the national side. It was a notion that was roundly poo-pooed by those involved, with the Spanish captain far more laid-back when predicting what would happen the next time he came across Xavi.
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm sure that as soon as we meet for the Spain team, weÃ¢ÂÂll see each other and say Ã¢ÂÂ(naughty word!)Ã¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂ(naughty word!)Ã¢ÂÂ and in one moment everything will be fixed.Ã¢ÂÂ Unfortunately, the exact same solution didnÃ¢ÂÂt work for JosÃÂ© Mourinho and Jorge Valdano and their particular tiff.
While Real Madrid sauntered off for their holidays, Barcelona had their lovely night out in London to look forward to, and comfortably disposed of Manchester United to pick up their second Champions League title in three years.
Not wanting to be left out of the crowing coming from the Catalan media, Madrid-mad Marca wrote that it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt just Barcelona who were victors on the night. Ã¢ÂÂThe win was also for Spanish football. In the first place because the four European Cups added to the nine of Real Madrid make us the country with most European titles,Ã¢ÂÂ noted the paperÃ¢ÂÂs editorial.
At the bottom of the Primera table there were all kinds of rumours floating about concerning a final round that saw seven teams with the possibility of joining AlmerÃÂa and HÃÂ©rcules in la Segunda.
The favourites for the drop were Zaragoza, who had a 48% chance of going down. And this was why a club with a reputation for doing whateverÃ¢ÂÂs necessary to survive might have been involved in a helpful arrangement with Levante, the club the side were playing. These stories - all without foundation, LLL should note - were condemned by Levante president, Quico Catalan, who fumed that Ã¢ÂÂthere are people trying to damage the image of an institution thatÃ¢ÂÂs more than a 100 years old.Ã¢ÂÂ Carles Puyol can certainly sympathise with that.
The side who eventually fell through the trap door were Deportivo following a 2-0 home defeat to Valencia in a match which mirrored the teamÃ¢ÂÂs season, in that the GalicianÃ¢ÂÂs were physically unable to score. Ã¢ÂÂHell doesnÃ¢ÂÂt deserve a team like this,Ã¢ÂÂ sobbed Marca, not exactly helping the self-esteem of those sides already in the second division.
DeportivoÃ¢ÂÂs demise saw the well-deserved sacking of their manager Miguel Angel Lotina, who decided to share the blame for the clubÃ¢ÂÂs relegation. Ã¢ÂÂLotina hasnÃ¢ÂÂt been relegated, but Deportivo has and we are a lot of people. This year it seems that only I lost.Ã¢ÂÂ
Valencia and Villarreal bagged third and fourth spot with AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid sneaking in the footballing cat flap to sneak seventh place with the reward of a 2011/12 Europa League qualifying game, four minutes after the end of their final match of their 2010/2011 league campaign.
However, Quique SÃÂ¡nchez Flores wasnÃ¢ÂÂt there to lead them into the encounter, having kept his word to walk out of the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n at the end of his contract and leave the game in Spain that little bit duller - and not just because of the coachÃ¢ÂÂs impressively orange tan.