After a desperately disappointing domestic campaign, Barcelona finished the season on a positive note, with a 5-3 win at relegated Murcia.
Mexican wonderkid Giovanni dos Santos, recently linked with a Summer transfer to Manchester City, scored a hat-trick. The win, in Frank Rijkaard’s last match in charge of Los Cules, secures Barcelona’s place in next season’s Champions’ League competition. Barca’s place in the top four had looked under threat after a dismal run of results in recent weeks.
Champions Real Madrid ended their season with a 5-2 thrashing of relegated Levante at the Bernabeau. There were two goals apiece from defender Sergio Ramos and striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy, whose fellow Dutchman Wesley Schneider also found the net.
Runners-up Villareal also finished their season on a high, winning 2-0 against Deportivo at the Riazor. Chilean playmaker Mathias Fernandez opened the scoring in the 35th minute, before striker Franco made sure of the victory with a last-minute strike.
Sevilla will join Barcelona in Europe’s premier club competition after nicking forth place with a 4-1 drubbing of Athletic Bilbao. They leapfrog Atletico Madrid, who were beaten 3-1 by Valencia at Mestalla and will have to settle for a UEFA Cup place.
At the bottom, a dramatic last-minute equaliser from Javi Guerrero earned Recreativo a priceless point against Valladolid, keeping Recreativo up and condemning Real Zaragoza to relegation. Zaragoza were beaten 3-2 at Mallorca and will join Murcia and Levante in the second tier next season.
By Houman Barekat