From title winners to shock cup defeats, football sprung up a number of talking points across Europe this weekend. Here are our list of Winners and Losers. Bet on football here.
La Liga champions, Barcelona
Barcelona once again confirmed their dominance in La Liga after securing the trophy for a record eighth time in the last 11 seasons. Lionel Messi’s sole goal against Levante ensured that the Catalans would not wait any longer to be crowned champions. The title triumph marked the 26th time in the club’s history, and it will now allow them ample time to prepare for the Champions League. They will be facing Liverpool in the semi-final and what better way to do so than with the league title already in the bag.
Roma finally found themselves back in the top four following a 3-0 win at home against Cagliari. The win ensured that they moved two points above fifth-placed side AC Milan and Atalanta, who are also eyeing the coveted Champions League spot. Claudio Ranieri’s men got off to a good start with two quickly taken goals early through Federico Fazio and Javier Pastore. Alexander Kolarov finished off the scoring late into the second half as they cemented their position.
Benfica are inching closer to the Portuguese title and nothing could demonstrate this than their impressive 4-1 win away to Braga. They are now two points ahead of arch-rivals Porto who blew their chance with a 2-2 draw on Friday against Rio Ave. The win against Braga dealt a psychological blow to their competitors whilst giving them the morale to forge forward in the coming days. With three games to play, this could be it for them, but they cannot be complacent just yet.
Real Madrid’s miserable season took another turn as they lost 1-0 to relegation-threatened neighbours Rayo Vallecano. They have not looked anything close to the goal scoring machine we have been used to in recent years. Third place is guaranteed for them but they need to show more determination if they are to close the gap between them and Barcelona. Big names including Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Toni Kroos and Isco have not been anywhere close to the levels they are capable of and Zinedine Zidane’s work is cut out for him.
PSG and Thomas Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel cut himself the image of a man trying to keep it together with his PSG side. Following on from their elimination in the Champions League, things have not gone according to plan in the recent past. They were eliminated from the Champions League by Manchester United, before experiencing a dip in form that delayed their winning of Ligue 1. Their problems were compounded during the weekend when they surrendered a 2-0 lead in the Coupe de France final against Rennes to lose the match on penalties. Kylian Mbappe was red carded in the process and Tuchel will need to stamp his authority on this squad if he is to succeed in the future.
AC Milan were dealt another blow in their efforts to finish the season in the top four after losing 2-0 away to Torino. They are now fifth in the table behind Roma who won their fixture, and are tied on points with Atalanta who have a game in hand. They will now have to win all of their remaining matches and hope that their competitors falter in the last few fixtures if they are to play Champions League football next season.