Diego Simeone

Spain Roundup: Top three manage two points total; Whose is it to lose?

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Barcelona’s 2-2 Saturday draw with Getafe should’ve signaled a new champion. The Blaugranas couldn’t find another miracle, instead choking away a late 2-1 lead and gaining just a single point as they try to chase down Atletico Madrid for the La Liga title.

But Atletico made Barca’s choke look like a cough, losing 2-0 at mid-table Levante. It began with an own-goal before David Barral’s seventh of the season increased Diego Simeone’s plight. Atleti outshot Levante 23-7.

And to top it all off, Real Madrid couldn’t take all the points at home against Valenica. While it did give us this moment of brilliance from Cristiano Ronaldo in stoppage time — Watch, you must — it also stopped Galacticos from owning its destiny.

Now on 88 points, Atletico’s lead over Barca has shrunk to three points, and Real is five points back of Atleti with a match in hand.

What’s it all mean? Well, Atleti holds the keys. They win out, they win La Liga. If Barca beats Atleti and Real drops any points, the title remains in Barcelona.

And there’s this:

The run-in for the title:

Atletico Madrid (88 points)
May 11 vs. Malaga
May 18 at Barcelona

Barcelona (85 points)
May 11 at Elche
May 18 vs. Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid (83 points)
May 7 at Valladolid
May 11 at Celta Vigo
May 18 vs. Espanyol

ELSEWHERE

  • Rayo Vallecano 0-3 Athletic Bilbao— The match was more or less dusted by the 30th minute, when De Marcos’ sixth of the year made it 2-0. Athletic had much more to play for, and it showed; The lead over Sevilla for fourth, and the UEFA Champions League, is safe.
  • Malaga 0-1 Elche — Massive road win from a desperate Elche team has Los Franjiverdes joining its opponents in relative safety. Dutchman Garry Rodrigues provides the winner.
  • Osasuna 0-2 Celta Vigo — The hosts’ despair is high after the weekend has it poised for the drop on 35 points. Goals 15 & 16 for Nolito pace the winners.
  • Valladolid 1-0 Espanyol — Unlikely hero Antonio Rukavina netted just his second of the season in boosting Valladolid’s survival hopes. Though still in 19th, they have one more game remaining than most of its fellow relegation-scrappers; Real Madrid, Betis and Granada remain on its slate to safety.
  • Almeria 3-2 Real Betis — Already-relegated Betis gives the hosts a fight, posting a 2-1 lead in the second half, but Aleix Vidal tied it before Ramon Azeez found the winner in the 90th minute to send Almeria a point clear of relegation.
  • Sevilla 0-0 Villarreal – A draw was almost as good as a win for the hosts, who just didn’t want Villarreal to snag all three.
  • Real Sociedad vs. Granada – Monday

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Atlético Madrid 36 28 4 4 75 24 51 15-3-0 13-1-4 88
Barcelona 36 27 4 5 99 32 67 16-1-1 11-3-4 85
Real Madrid 35 26 5 4 100 34 66 15-1-2 11-4-2 83
Athletic 36 20 8 8 65 38 27 13-3-2 7-5-6 68
Sevilla 36 17 9 10 66 50 16 10-4-4 7-5-6 60
Real Sociedad 35 16 9 10 59 51 8 11-3-3 5-6-7 57
Villarreal 36 15 8 13 54 43 11 8-6-4 7-2-9 53
Valencia 36 12 10 14 49 50 -1 9-3-6 3-7-8 46
Celta Vigo 36 13 7 16 46 52 -6 5-7-6 8-0-10 46
Levante 36 11 12 13 33 42 -9 6-6-6 5-6-7 45
Rayo Vallecano 36 13 4 19 45 74 -29 8-0-10 5-4-9 43
Espanyol 36 11 8 17 39 47 -8 7-4-7 4-4-10 41
Málaga 36 11 8 17 37 45 -8 7-2-9 4-6-8 41
Elche 36 9 12 15 29 47 -18 6-7-5 3-5-10 39
Granada 35 11 4 20 30 53 -23 7-1-10 4-3-10 37
Almería 36 10 6 20 41 71 -30 6-5-7 4-1-13 36
Getafe 36 9 9 18 32 53 -21 5-6-7 4-3-11 36
Osasuna 36 9 8 19 29 60 -31 5-5-8 4-3-11 35
Valladolid 35 7 14 14 34 54 -20 6-8-3 1-6-11 35
Betis 36 5 7 24 31 73 -42 4-3-11 1-4-13 22

Tens of thousands welcomed Real Madrid home after Champions League final

Real Madrid bus (Photo credit: Real Madrid / Twitter: @realmadrid)
Photo credit: Real Madrid / Twitter: @realmadrid
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MADRID (AP) Tens of thousands of fans endured the rain to greet Real Madrid players as they returned home early Sunday from their triumph in the Champions League final.

[ MORE: Real top Atleti on penalty kicks — Ronaldo the hero again ]

Many waited all night after celebrating the team’s win over crosstown rival Atletico Madrid in a penalty shootout on Saturday in Milan.

The players arrived in Madrid at about 6 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) and traveled on an open bus to the club’s traditional celebration spot, the Plaza de Cibeles, where an estimated 30,000 supporters welcomed the team.

Players carried the Champions League trophy atop the bus, constantly showing it to the cheering fans. The word “Campeones” and “11” were displayed prominently on the bus, in reference to the club’s 11th European title.

[ MORE: Ronaldo — “Our team showed more experience” ]

Team captain Sergio Ramos, who scored Madrid’s goal in regulation time at the San Siro, took the walkway set up over the plaza’s fountain and draped the statue of the goddess Cybele with the club’s scarf and flag, then lifted the trophy high above the famous figure.

A huge video screen was set up at the plaza to allow fans to watch the final, and the party began right after Cristiano Ronaldo converted the final penalty kick in the shootout to give the club its second European title in three seasons. Light shows and music entertained the fans through the night.

Atletico Madrid supporters, who again were denied the opportunity to celebrate the title, had gathered at a different viewing spot to watch the final.

[ MORE: Bale — “We deserve it” ]

There were no reports of major incidents between fans of the rival clubs.

Real Madrid said “almost 80,000” fans watched Saturday’s final at the team’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where four huge screens were placed at midfield. The title celebration at the stadium included confetti thrown into the air as “We are the champions” played through loudspeakers.

The team will meet with the mayor of Madrid later on Sunday and again will parade through city streets.

The title celebrations will culminate at night at the Bernabeu.

Marek Hamsik absolutely smashes goal in Slovakia’s upset of Germany (video)

TRNAVA, SLOVAKIA - MARCH 25:  Marek Hamsik of Slovakia runs with the ball during the international friendly match between Slovakia and Latvia held at Stadion Antona Malatinskeho on March 25, 2016 in Trnava, Slovakia.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images
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Marek Hamsik hit a ball with such momentous force that we’re not sure it rotated more than three full turns on its 20-yard flight into the goal.

The Slovakia star’s goal equalized a friendly with Germany at 1, and Repre went on to hammer the reigning World Cup champs by a 3-1 score.

[ USMNT-BOLIVIA: Recap3 things | Player ratings ]

I mean, really, what a hit. Bernd Leno had little hope of touching it.

Carrick praises Mourinho, reportedly will sign Manchester United extension

MONACO - MAY 27:  Michael Carrick attends the Red Bull Racing Energy Station at Monte Carlo on May 27, 2016 in Monaco, Monaco.  (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images
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Longtime Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick spoke glowingly of new boss Jose Mourinho amidst rumors he’ll sign a one-year extension with the Old Trafford set.

Carrick, 34, joined United from Tottenham in 2006, and has won major trophy after major trophy with the club. He wants more, and he doesn’t care how.

[ MORE: United hires Mourinho | Things he must do ]

The 34-times capped English midfielder has 421 appearances for United, and could fit neatly into a Mourinho system.

From The Mirror:

“You have to be number one and winning trophies and if you can do that with a bit of style and a bit of flair then that is the perfect match but first and foremost it is about winning and getting back on top.

“There is going to be change without a doubt because he is coming in and he is his own man.

“He has got an unbelievable track record and everyone is looking for quick results and that’s how it is.”

We have to wonder how the United fans who booed Louis Van Gaal after every turn will react to these comments, although wins cure everything, right?

Kante, James among players happy to stay put with champions

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 04: A dejected Simon Mignolet of LiverpSimon Mignolet of Liverpool (L) looks on as Karim Benzema of Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mates during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 4, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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There were many rumors than N'Golo Kante had a deal that would allow him to leave Leicester City, but the midfielder doesn’t sound like the leaving type.

According to L’Equipe, Kante isn’t looking to leave the Premier League champions, and is content to play in the UEFA Champions League with the Foxes next season.

[ UCL: Real Madrid wins | CR7 reacts | Bale, too ]

He’s been tipped to move to Real Madrid and Manchester City amongst other potential stops.

“For now, I am happy at Leicester,” he said. “I do not pay too much attention to everything that is said.”

That vibe is running through the headlines today, as UEFA Champions League winners Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez say they want to stay at Real Madrid, and Isco is also happy to come back to the Bernabeu to make a run at a first La Liga title since the 2011-12 season.