The 2011 Spanish League season has ended and on this week’s main report we take a look back at some of the highs and lows of La Liga. There is a transcript below, while explanations of key vocabulary (in bold) can be found at the foot of the post, while other key phrases (in blue) also have meanings explained.
Barcelona won their third title in a row under inspirational manager Pep Guardiola and yet again they did it in style. They won by 4 points from arch-rivals Real Madrid despite easing off towards the end of the season. The Catalan side won more games than any other team, conceded fewer goals, won the Fair Play award in Spain and of course have the top three players in the world in Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi. The Argentinian scored 51 goals in all competitions and had 18 assists in the league – undoubtedly the player of the season. Yet Messi was not the top scorer in Spain – instead the Pichichi went to Portuguese star Ronaldo who scored a record-breaking 40 league goals. His side finished second again and yet again ‘Los Blancos‘ scored more than a 100 goals but once Barcelona thrashed them 5-0 in the Camp Nou in November – ‘Una Manita‘ – they were always playing catch-up. Despite not winning the title, their coach Mourinho’s first season can be seen as somewhat of a success as he did win the Copa del Rey and took the club to the semi-final of the Champions League for the first time in nine years. The dominance of the big two in Spain continued with Valencia in third finishing 27 points behind the leaders, while they were walloped by Madrid at home 2-6. The remaining Champions League spot went to Villareal but they finished 35 points behind Barcelona – another statistic to suggest that La Liga’s two-horse race will continue next season.
This year’s relegation battle was, like the English Premier League, one of the closest ever with up to six teams battling to escape the drop on the final day. Unfortunately, it was Deportivo la Coruna that ended up dropping down a division after they lost at home to Valencia. Their 43 points was the highest ever points total for a team relegated in Spain but ‘Depor’ won few friends over the season as the continually parked the bus, they were involved in nine 0-0 draws and were the league’s lowest scorers. The Galician side’s coach Lotina resigned and his former club join Hércules and Almeria in next season’s Segunda. Mallorca, Getafe, Zaragoza, Real Sociedad and Levante all survived, though it was a close shave as only two points separated these six teams at the end, and next season they will be up against promoted sides Rayo Vallecano and Real Betis, which means we’ll have four teams from Madrid and a Seville derby to look forward to. Roll on 2011-12.
Los Blancos: The nickname of Real Madrid
were walloped: Well beaten; thrashed
to escape the drop : To avoid relegation
a close shave: Extremely close
they will be up against: They will have to face or play against