La Primera: Relegated: Eibar, Almeria and Cordoba
Liga Adelante: Promoted: Real Betis, Sporting Gijon, Las Palmas.
Relegated: Barcelona B, Sabadell, Recreativo Huelva and Racing Santander.
IN OTHER NEWS…
* “Only Perfect Counts” was the slogan emblazoned on the posters promoting Real Madrid’s new kit. So no pressure on new boss Rafa Benitez then…Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Iker Casillas were centre stage implying they are not about to leave the Bernabeu any time soon. The new polyester shirt retails at a cool €85.
Barcelona, lest we forget, are ditching their 115-year heritage by playing in hoops next season;
* Neymar has dominated much of the news for his hissy fit at the Copa America which earned him a rather generous four-match ban for Brazil after assaulting and insulting the referee against Colombia. Back in Spain however he has extended his stay at the Qiu Qiu Online Camp Nou until 2020 in a deal worth €12 million per annum.
* The players union LFP have published their La Liga team of the season:
Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo (Barcelona)
Defenders: Jordi Alba, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique (all Barcelona), Nicolas Otamendi (Valencia)
Midfielders: Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona)
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
with Luis Enrique the coach of course. Just imagine Messi and Ronaldo together up front…
* La Liga players predictably made up the lion’s share of the Champions League squad of the season. 12 of the 18 players selected by UEFA’s Technical Observers ply their trade in Spain: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Javier Mascherano, Ivan Rakitic, Toni Kroos, Andres Iniesta, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez. Alvaro Morata was also chosen.
* Around 70,000 piled into the Bernabeu to see Real Madrid legends beat Liverpool’s 4-2, with Jerzy Dudek, Steve McManaman, Fernando Morientes and Michael Owen playing for both sides. Roberto Carlos scored a brace for Real, who featured Zinedine Zidane, Clarence Seedorf and even Emilio Butragueno.
Liverpool featured Spaniards Luis Garcia and Abel Xavier as well as Phil Thompson and Ian Rush from their golden years at the start of the 1980s.
* Spain are tenth again in FIFA’s latest World Rankings.
* Half of Real Madrid fans polled would sell Cristiano Ronaldo if an offer of between €100 and €150 million came in.
The galactico has just had an actual galaxy named after him. Astronomers working in observatories in Chile and Hawaii have named a cluster of ancient stars “CR7”, as they are three times brighter than equivalent galaxies.
* Gareth Bale has had a frustrating season marooned in midfield and Rafael Benitez is planning to play him on the left in a trident behind Ronaldo.
After another match-winning performace for Wales, where he scored the only goal to defeat Belgium, Spain’s vast Real following are openly wondering again if another slack season awaits teh Cardiffian in the white shirts. The big difference is that Wales are based around him, and he has liberty to roam wearing red.
Five goals in six for Wales is notably better than the 13 in 31 he scored for Real this season, but the idea that he could replicate his national team role with Ronaldo and other galacticos around him is far-fetched.
* Dani Alves has signed a two-year extension at Barcelona only a month after saying he did not feel respected at the Camp Nou and soon after the blaugrana signed Sevilla’s right-sided Aleix Vidal.
Alves looked sure to leave, especially after his tearful ‘farewell’ in the title celebrations, but had performed excellently in the season’s crucial, final games, a flourish which must have twisted the club’s arm. “I couldn’t imagine a changing room without you!!!”, tweeted Ivan Rakitic.
* Lionel Messi allegedly turned down the man-of-the-match award for Argentina against Paraguay in the Copa America after the Albiceleste conceded a last-minute equalizer. Paraguay’s Haedo Valdez got the gong instead. The little flea was doubtless fed up with awards for disappointing results, following his rather unmerited player of the tournament prize at the World Cup Finals.
* Mario Mandzukic has left Atletico Madrid for Juventus for an €18 million fee and a four-year deal. The Croatian striker’s arrival in Turin means one of Juve’s two Spanish forwards Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Morata could be heading back across the Mediterranean.
There is also now a vacant striker slot at the Manzanares. Expectations remain high after some illustrious boots have scored goals for the Colchoneros in recent years: Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa, Falcao, Diego Forlan, Maxi Rodriguez, Fernando Torries and David Villa.
* Jose Antonio Reyes has signed a new two-year deal at Sevilla, turning down offers from the Middle East. His club have in turn sold striker Iago Aspas to Celta Vigo.
* Sevilla have also agreed terms with Chelsea for Gael Kakuta.
* 109, 637 members of FC Barcelona are eligible to vote in this summer’s presidential election on the 18th of July. Former boss Joan Laporta is standing against current incumbent Josep Bartomeu.
* Former Juventus owner ‘Lukcy Luciano’ Moggi, who was at the centre of the 2006 Calciopoli scandal, told the press this week that Real owner Florentino Perez was planning to sack Carlo Ancelotti this summer whether he won the Champions League or not.
* Sergio Ramos has travelled to Cuba as a UNICEF ambassador
* Striker Juanmi has tied up a €7 million move from Malaga to Southampton.
* 21 year-old Gerard Delofeu is returning to Everton, where he played two seasons ago, for a fee of €6 million. The 21 year-old attacker, who has one cap for Spain, had a disappointing year on loan at Sevilla from Barcelona. Barça retain an option to buy him back for €9 million over the next two seasons.
* The final of Spain’s youth cup, the Copa del Rey Juvenil will take place on the 27th of June in Ceuta and is an all Madrid derby between Real and Rayo Vallecano.
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
* Spain’s women finished last in their group and exited the tournament at the first hurdle. La selección femenina started with a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica but then lost 1-0 to Brazil and 2-1 to South Korea in their do-or-die match.
Veronica Boquete opened the scoring for Spain in Ottawa but the Koreans netted two second-half goals, the second a golazo from outside the box, to send the first-time entrants towards the exit. Spain had needed a win and went down fighting, hitting the bar with a free kick in the closing stages, but were beaten by a better side in the end.
Spanish women’s football has been slow taking off compared to France, Italy or the northern European nations’ but this first World Cup finals appearance was a big step in the right direction.