Valladolid

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Brazil great Ronaldo takes over Spanish club

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MADRID (AP) Former Brazil great Ronaldo took over Monday as the majority stakeholder in recently promoted Spanish club Valladolid, saying he is bringing his soccer expertise to help the team succeed.

Ronaldo now owns 51 percent of the shares of the club. He will preside over the board of directors while Carlos Suarez will remain club president, a job he held before Ronaldo’s arrival.

“I’m really excited,” Ronaldo said at Valladolid’s city hall. “My entire life has been about football and this is another great challenge for me, a very big one.”

The former Brazil striker said “transparency” and “competitiveness” will be part of the basis of his management.

Financial details were not immediately available, but local media said the operation was worth about 30 million euros ($35 million).

“I’ll try to put all my soccer knowledge at the players’ disposal and will try to manage the club efficiently,” he said. “I want the club and the city to grow.”

Valladolid, which is based in a city of about 300,000 people, is playing in Spain’s top division for the 41st time in its 90-year history. It last played in the top league in 2013-14.

Suarez said the deal with Ronaldo will “put Valladolid on the map.”

“This is an important step for the growth of the club,” the club president said.

Ronaldo, who played at Barcelona and Real Madrid during his career, won World Cups with Brazil in 1994 and 2002. He became a successful businessman after retiring, owning companies and managing players.

He said he will be fully committed to his new project.

“What do you think? That I’ll buy a club and then go on vacation?” Ronaldo said. “There’s a lot of work to do, you have to stay close. I’ll be as committed as possible, but there is a management team in place and I’m very happy with it.”

He said there’s a lot to handle after “hasty” negotiations to finalize the club’s take over. Ronaldo and the club were in talks during the offseason and the agreement reportedly wasn’t completed until last week.

“Little by little we will plan everything so this club can aspire to great things and grow as much as possible,” he said. “This city and this club have a lot of potential.”

Valladolid opened with a 0-0 draw at Girona, lost to defending champion Barcelona 1-0 and drew 0-0 at Getafe. It’s next game is against Alaves.

“From now on we will focus on planning for the future, prioritizing the team,” Ronaldo said. “It’s crucial that we keep gaining points so we can remain in the top.”

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La Liga relegation places decided

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After an exciting final round in La Liga, the relegation places have been decided: Real Betis, Real Valladolid and Osasuna will be playing in the Segunda Liga next season.

With just 25 points on the season, Real Betis’s fate was sealed long ago. Their unfortunate tangle with Europa League, and their loss of their best player to Bilbao, shaped their season – to devastating effect.

Valladolid fell to Granada in the weekend’s most nerve-wracking match, as Granada could’ve very well slipped down had they failed to win. But Valladolid dug their own grave, with Stefan Mitrović putting the ball in the back of his own net just before the break.

Osasuna had a bit of trouble at their match, with a retaining barrier collapsing twelve minutes in, after the first goal was scored. An estimated 40 fans were injured, although none are in serious condition. After a 35-minute delay, the game was restarted, with the decision made to delay the start of the second half in the three other matches. Osasuna scored a second almost immediately after, but ultimately it didn’t matter. They needed Granada, Getafe or Almeria to lose, and that didn’t happen.

It’s unknown yet who will move up to the top division. Deportivo la Coruna, who were relegated last season and very nearly slipped down to the third division thanks to a dispute over players’ wages, are currently top in Spain’s second division. But with three games left to go after this weekend, it’s really too soon to say who we’ll be welcoming to La Liga.

Here’s how everything else in La Liga shook out…

Champions

Atlético Madrid! They drew with Barcelona to clinch the La Liga title on Saturday.

Champions League

Barcelona and Real Madrid will skip qualifying and go straight into the group stages. Atheltic Bilbao will take the fourth spot, joining the tournament for the last playoff round.

Europa League

Sevilla, Villarreal and Real Sociedad round out Spain’s European teams. That’s particularly impressive for Villarreal, who spent last season in the second division.