The premeditated pomp and choreographed farewell that John Terry bid Chelsea supporters at Stamford Bridge on Sunday stood in stark contrast to Luis Enrique’s final match at the Camp Nou. While the feel-good factor in the southwest of London as compared to the tension-riddled atmosphere at the Camp Nou could go someway towards explaining these divergent going away parties, the real variation was really only in the respective men of honor.
Barcelona’s 4-2 victory over Eibar was rendered meaningless by Real Madrid’s 2-0 win against Eibar, but the event-riddled match still provided plenty of highlights.
Luis Enrique’s final match in charge at the Camp Nou began disastrously. As news filtered through the stadium regarding Real Madrid’s early opener, Eibar scored a sensational goal of their own with Takashi Inui lifting a left footed half-volley into the roof of the net in the 7th minute.
With Real Madrid simply needing to avoid defeat to capture their first La Liga crown in five years, Barcelona held out slim hope that 11th place Malaga could use the friendly confines of Estadio La Rosaleda to play the perfect match and shock the side from the Spanish capital. That hope lasted for all of two minutes before Cristiano Ronaldo delivered Real Madrid their opener.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a bad miss on Wednesday.
Of course, he also became the all-time leading scorer in Europe's top five leagues. His brace in Real Madrid's crucial victory against Celta Vigo gave him 368 goals in 460 apperances at both Manchester United and Real Madrid.
His missed opportunity at a hat trick also reminded us that even the greatest player's can still be humbled by the game.
It hasn’t exactly been rosy times for Valencia CF and their fans of late. Since qualifying for the Champions League in 2015, the club has completely gone downhill. In the last two seasons, they’ve finished mid-table in La Liga, flirted dangerously with relegation, sold their best players and have had a total of five managers: Nuno, Gary Neville, Pako Ayestaran, Cesare Prandelli and Voro. However, things may finally be changing at Valencia after three important announcements were recently made by the club.
You could say it’s been an abnormal season for Cristiano Ronaldo. We’ve all gotten used to the Portuguese star playing almost every single competitive match and reaching outrageous totals of 50 or 60 goals a campaign.
This season, however, Ronaldo has scored 37 goals across all competitions, and he’s appeared in 43 of Real Madrid’s 57 official games — a total of only 75%. This is a significant change from last season when he scored a total of 51 goals and played 48 of Real’s 52 matches — a total of 92%.
La Liga took another step towards the finish line with Barcelona swatting aside Las Palmas, 4-1, and Real Madrid dispatching fourth-placed Sevilla 4-1 at the Bernabeu on Sunday.
The result saw Barcelona stay atop the La Liga table on head-to-head record, but Real Madrid maintain their vital game in hand. Barcelona’s final match is on Sunday against Eibar, while all eyes will be on Real Madrid in Galicia on Wednesday when they travel to play Celta Vigo before finishing away to Malaga.
If you were to ask any football fan who the best penalty stopper in the world is, their answer would probably be pretty cliche: Manuel Neuer, David De Gea, Thibaut Courtois, Hugo Lloris, etc.
The true answer might surprise everyone. It’s Valencia’s Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Alves.
Last Saturday, Alves’ penalty save on Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was his 25th such feat since arriving in La Liga in 2007. Interesting enough, Alves has stopped three of four penalties from Ronaldo.