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La Liga & Serie A: Real locks up 33rd Spanish crown and more

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup | Man United win | Everton, too ]

Malaga 0-2 Real Madrid

Who else but Cristiano Ronaldo would help Real cap off its stellar season in La Liga? The Portuguese attacker netted inside the opening two minutes on Sunday to give Los Blancos the Spanish crown, edging rivals Barcelona by six points in the final table. Karim Benzema added a second for Zinedine Zidane’s side after halftime to ensure the outcome for the visitors.

Real’s next test will take place in Cardiff when the La Liga champions take on Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final.

Barcelona 4-2 Eibar

The Blaugrana needed a win and some help from Malaga to bring home another La Liga trophy, but Real Madrid didn’t comply. Barcelona managed a comeback win over Eibar at the Camp Nou, after falling behind in the opening 10 minutes after a superb volley from Takashi Inui gave the visitors the lead and almost spoiled the day for Luis Enrique in his final match in charge at the Camp Nou. Inui found his second of the day after halftime, before a David Junca Rene own goal gave Barcelona a glimmer of hope.

Luis Suarez leveled the match in the second half, but with Real already up 2-0 at that point, Barca’s chances of winning Spain’s top flight were already dashed. Lionel Messi scored twice late, after having previously missed from the spot earlier in the second half, to give the Blaugrana the lead.

This season marks the first time since 2013/14 that Barcelona hasn’t won a domestic title in Spain (La Liga, Copa del Rey).

Atletico Madrid 3-1 Athletic Bilbao

Fernando Torres scored twice in the opening 11 minutes to give Atletico a commanding lead, and Diego Simeone’s side concluded another La Liga season inside the top three. Inaki Williams pulled one back for Bilbao in the second stanza, however, Angel Correa sealed the match in the 89th minute. The UCL will be in play once again next season for Atleti, despite finishing behind Real and Barcelona.

Elsewhere in La Liga — SATURDAY’S ROUNDUP

Celta Vigo 2-2 Real Sociedad
Valencia 1-3 Villareal


Juventus 3-0 Crotone

Champions once again! Juventus needed to win one of its final two matches, but the Italian giants didn’t waste any time in doing so on Sunday as they captured another Serie A crown. Mario Mandzukic and Paolo Dybala each netted before halftime, while Alex Sandro scored late on to make it 3-0 in favor of the UEFA Champions League finalists.

The Serie A title is Juventus’ 33rd in club history and their sixth straight as the team continues to dominate Italian soccer.

Elsewhere in Serie ASATURDAY’S ROUNDUP

Lazio vs. Inter Milan
AC Milan 3-0 Bologna
Empoli 0-1 Atalanta
Genoa 2-1 Torino
Sassuolo 6-2 Cagliari
Udinese 1-1 Sampdoria

Guardiola: “I’d be fired” with this season at Barca, Bayern

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Pep Guardiola is grateful for the patience of Manchester City’s hierarchy.

Unable to secure a major trophy during his first year at the Etihad Stadium, the celebrated manager admits that he could’ve felt uneasy — or more uneasy — about the lack of success.

But Man City should still qualify for the UEFA Champions League, barring a monumental collapse, and it’s allowing Guardiola to discuss the disappointment of his debut campaign.

From the BBC:

“In my situation at a big club, I’m sacked. I’m out,” said the Catalan.

“If it is Barcelona and Bayern you don’t win and you are out. Here I have a second chance and I will try to do it better next season.”

Now if we’re honest, Guardiola’s reputation has done more than enough to assure he’d get more than a season at just about any club in the world. Yet it’s worth noting that the Spanish boss knows what must be done in year two, and it involves some shiny stuff.

La Liga: Real Madrid’s game in hand to decide title; Barcelona powerless

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup | Goodbye, White Hart Lane ]

Las Palmas 1-4 Barcelona

Barcelona have done just about everything they could possibly do (since drawing three straight games and dropping six of nine possible points in November and December… and inexplicably losing to 17th- and 11th-place Deportivo La Coruña and Malaga, respectively, in March and April) to put themselves in position to win the title.

On Sunday, Neymar bagged himself a hat trick to take his league goals tally to 13 on the season (to go with 11 assists) and keep Barca level on points with Real Madrid on points (87) and ahead based on the head-to-head tiebreaker (one win, one draw). The decisive game in the 2016-17 La Liga season will be played on Wednesday, with every one of Barca’s players and coaches sitting at home, their feet kicked up on the couch, as Real Madrid come level on games played (37), away to 13th-place Celta Vigo.

Luis Suarez scored Barcelona’s other goal (assisted by Neymar), the one that turned out to be the winner, giving him 28 league goals (to go with 13 assists) this season.

Real Madrid 4-1 Sevilla

These clubs hate each other so much, yet they’re constantly imitating and mimicking the other. Barca won 4-1, thus Madrid couldn’t be outdone.

Nacho opened the scoring early, putting Los Blancos ahead in the 10th minute, followed 13 minutes later by Cristiano Ronaldo’s 400th goal for Madrid (in just eight seasons — all competitions) to make it 2-0. Ronaldo made it 3-1 in the 78th minute (Stevan Jovetic pulled a goal back for Sevilla just after halftime) to give him 401 goals in the white shirt of Madrid, and Toni Kroos completed the scoring six minutes later. All Madrid need are four points from their final two games to win a record 33rd league title next Sunday.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Villarreal 0-0 Deportivo La Coruña
Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Leganes
Real Sociedad 2-2 Malaga
Eibar 0-1 Sporting Gijon
Alaves 3-1 Celta Vigo

FC Barcelona wants to place team in U.S. based NWSL

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The National Women’s Soccer League could have an 11th team next season, one with a very powerful name.

Catalan powers FC Barcelona announced that it is hoping to field a standalone team in the NWSL next season.

Barca spokesman Josep Vives said the club wants to be the first European team to place a side in the NWSL, and would ratchet up interest in the growing league and support the Barca brand.

From the Barcelona web site:

This plan is based on the proposals made from the New York office and from the sports area of ​​the Entity with the aim of being able to participate in this league from the year 2018.

Given that American players Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan have gone to England and France, respectively, to play for big brands Man City and Lyon, could we see a number of teams playing in the U.S.?

It’s an intriguing discussion for women’s soccer fans: Could their league grow by boasting rivalries between massive international names and the nascent clubs of the NWSL? The U.S. is top-to-bottom the best women’s soccer country in the world, and having a handful of major world brands trying to take down traditional American clubs could do wonders to move the meter regarding women’s club soccer in the States.

Messi lookalike has car impounded after mob scene

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A Lionel Messi lookalike has found his appearance can bring a bit of trouble.

Reza Parastesh is an Iranian man who looks almost exactly like Messi, especially considering he’s adopted the hairstyle and beard of the Barcelona star.

That’s led to several opportunities for Parastesh, who often finds himself in demand for selfies and promotional ideas.

[ PL PREVIEW: Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough ]

This weekend it also found him at the police station thanks to crowd “chaos” caused by bystanders seeking to meet him. He was charged for “disrupting traffic.”

And if that’s not enough, this story following Argentina’s defeat of Iran in the 2014 World Cup is pretty wild:

“After the game, my dad called me and said don’t come back home tonight… why did you score a goal against Iran? I said: But that wasn’t me!” Parastesh said, laughing.

Yet another note to explain why superstars get paid what they do… imagine how hard it is for Messi to leave his house.