As the last match of the season got underway, the Real Madrid were hoping to end it with a win to what has been one of their worst seasons in years. Instead, they had to settle for yet another loss.
The fans in attendances were clearly frustrated as Madrid fell 2-0 to Real Betis at Santiago Bernabeu. The hope now falls towards what the club will do in the offseason to make changes and help it improve its underperforming squad for next season. Even coach Zinedine Zidane struggled to explain the lack of goals stating,
“It isn’t that we don’t want to (play better), we aren’t able to. The best thing is for this to be over. We are already thinking about the future and next season.”
The Real Madrid went into the match with little to motivate them as there was no chance of improving their second back-to-back third place finish, a first since 1974. Zidanes return after the embarrassing loss to Ajax in the Champions League has seen Madrid improve to five wins and two draws, but it was the four losses that were the problem. Commenting, defender Marcelo Vieira said,
“The fault is ours. We didn’t start well and we didn’t finish it well either. In no way was this the season we wanted to have.”
The win against Madrid was a welcome sight for the Real Betis, but it was not enough to save coach Quique Setién from remaining with the club, who announced shortly after the match that the two had agreed to move on in other directions.
The good news for Setién is his two year stay at Betis ended with a win, and it was a good one at that. Betis managed to outplay the Real Madrid start to finish and scored two goals in the second half, one by Loren Morón and the other by Jesé Rodríguez, a former Madrid forward.
Betis closes out the season in tenth, and while far from expectations, coach Setein was pleased to see the season end in a victory. Commenting, Setién said,
“This allows us to finish a season that has been a bit disappointing with a victory against a team and at a stadium that will always be a nice memory.”
Messi Finishes Top Scorer for Sixth Time
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi once again ended the season as the league’s top scorer. Messi scored twice in Barcelona’s match against Eibar giving the forward his 36th of the season to help Barcelona to a 2-2 draw.
This was the sixth time Messi finished the season as the top scorer in La Liga and that tops the record set in the 50’s by Telmo Zarra, a shining accomplishment few will ever lay claim to. Barcelona went into the match having already secured the league title and now will look towards next weekends the Copa del Rey final with hopes they retain their title against Valencia.
Barcelona lost out on the rare opportunity to walk away with three major titles this season as losing to Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals. However, they took the top spot with eleven points over Atletico Madrid and a whopping 19 points over the Real Madrid. Commenting, Ernesto Valverde, head coach for Barcelona said,
“We were very consistent all season long and that’s what allowed us to win the league by such a comfortable margin.”