MADRID: Barcelona won their 22nd Spanish league title without playing after being left clear at the top after second-placed Real Madrid could ‘only’ draw 1-1 away to Catalan neighbours Espanyol.
Tito Vilanova’s success, despite his own illness issues, in regaining the title back in his first season since replacing Pep Guardiola makes it four league trophies in the last five years for Barcelona.
They were top from the opening day of the campaign and are only the second side to have led a 20-team league from beginning to end after Madrid in 1987-88.
Vilanova, ahead of Sunday’s visit to third-placed Atletico de Madrid,s aid: “We played such a good first half of the season that people have had the sensation it was a league that had been won a long time ago. But Madrid have played an incredible second half of the season and if we had relaxed we would have had problems.”
Barca have 88 points from 34 games and if they win their remaining four matches they could surpass Pep Guardiola’s club record tally of 99 when they triumphed in 2009 and match Real’s league record of 100 points from last term.
Barca have scored 105 goals so far this season Lionel Messi, who scored a record 50 league goals last term, has struck 46 so far in this campaign.
Madrid coach Mourinho was magnanimous in defeat after the Espanyol game, saying: “First I want to congratulate Barcelona, their coaching staff, their players, directors and fans. They have won a league title which was ours until now and I think the least we can do is congratulate them.”
In France Andre Ayew scored his first double of the season as Marseille beat Toulouse 2-1 to secure Champions League qualification and delay Paris Saint-Germain’s expected coronation as Ligue 1 champions.
Ayew headed second-placed Marseille in front at home just on halftime and scored the second in the 62nd minute from close range. Substitute Eden Ben Basat scored a late consolation for 10th-placed Toulouse.
Marseille, unbeaten in their last 10 games, moved to 70 points from 36 matches, four points behind leaders PSG, who have played 35 but who wil be confirmed as champions for the first time since 1994 if they win at Lyon on Sunday.
Revived Monaco won promotion from the second division after Ibrahima Toure’s last-minute goal earned a 1-0 victory at Nimes.
In Germany record-breaking champions Bayern Munich officially collected their 22nd Bundesliga trophy after a 3-0 win over Augsburg as they prepare for the all-German Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund in two weeks.
In front of German football bosses, 22 former Bayern greats and Bavarian political royalty, the champions left it late, scoring three goals in the second half through Thomas Mueller, Xherdan Shaqiri and Luiz Gustavo.
It was a 28th win in 33 league games – with one league match left – for Bayern who had long since secured their 23rd German league title and 22nd since the launch of the Bundesliga half a century ago.
They have broken a string of records, including most points, most away wins and best start and are chasing an unprecedented treble for a German club with the Champions League and German Cup.
In Greece Olympiakos Piraeus beat Asteras Tripolis 3-1 after extra time to win the Cup for the 26th time and complete the domestic double.
In Italy recrowned champions Juventus were held 1-1 at home by Cagliari, meaning they can no longer their 91 points record set in 2005-06 . . . before they were stripped of the title and relegated to Serie B following a match-fixing scandal.