Real Madrid have won their 30th Liga after yet another dramatic night in Spain. Leading by virtue of a better head to head record against fierce rivals Barcelona, Real started brightly but were prone to defensive lapses as Mallorca counter-attacked effectively. The visitors took a shock lead to stun the Bernabeu when Fernando Varela scored on 17 minutes as the Real defence appealed in vain for offside.

Minutes later Carles Puyol, Barcelona through and through, scored to give his side the lead over Gimnastic. Messi and Ronaldinho made it 3-0 and it seemed the title was going to the Nou Camp. When Ruud van Nistelrooy, Real and La Liga’s top scorer went off before halftime with an injury, the crowd began to sense it was not their night as the commentators remarked on how quiet the Real fans had become.

With Barcelona cruising at 4-0, Real got away with it when Varela went one-on-one with Casillas and slipped it past the keeper but just past the right hand upright. Beckham’s fairytale end to the season came to an abrupt close as he left proceedings on 66 minutes, replaced by Reyes in his last game for the club as well. Reyes’ first touch flew into the net and Real were level.

As tempers threatened to boil over with Guti, Salgado and Reyes all involved in confrontations with Mallorca players, Diarra’s header from a corner was saved by Miguel Moya but he could only palm if off the hapless Basinas on the line and the Bernabeu was in raptures. Reyes added a second of the night and Real’s third two minutes later and the game descended into a party for Madrid whose coaches and players celebrated as though the game was over.

Barcelona’s 5-1 win became meaningless as Beckham, Van Nistelrooy and a drenched Fabio Capello ran onto the pitch to celebrate Real claiming the title back from Barcelona in the most dramatic style possible. In one of the most exciting climaxes to a European league in recent seasons, Real are champions and with the likes of Sevilla, Valencia and others likely to be stronger again next season, La Liga looks in very good shape indeed…..

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