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La Liga season review: Barcelona back on top

It was another exciting season in the Spanish top flight and it was one that turned out to be a good one for Barcelona, who won La Liga for a 27th time.

The Catalans were crowned champions for the first time since the 2018/19 campaign and, along with the Supercopa de Espana win over Real Madrid, they ended the season with two pieces of silverware. 

It was a welcome return to the top for Barcelona and the powers that be will be hoping Xavi can continue his impressive resurgence since taking charge of the club on 6th November 2021. 

Elsewhere, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad made up the top four to clinch the remaining Champions League spaces, while Villarreal and Real Betis landed the two Europa League spots and Osasuna snatched the Europa Conference League position. 

At the bottom end of the standings, Real Valladolid, Espanyol and Elche all suffered the fate of relegation and will be playing football next season in the Segunda.

Barcelona still require work

Although Barcelona were crowned Spanish champions for the 27th time, they were perhaps helped out towards the final few months of the season by the fact closest challengers Real Madrid were gunning for another Champions League title. 

Los Blancos certainly lost focus in the battle for league glory and this meant the Catalans, when they did make errors, were not punished by any of the teams trying to chase them down. 

But credit where credit is due as Xavi managed to guide his side to the title, although they still need to add to their squad in the summer if they want to challenge for European honours next term. 

Barcelona were sent packing at the group stage of the Champions League before losing to Manchester United in the Europa League knockout play-off round, showing there are still areas of the squad that required strengthening. 

Roberto Firmino will be leaving Liverpool on a free this summer and he is 8/11 to join the Catalans in the Transfer Specials market, while fellow free agent Lionel Messi is 4/7 to return to his former employers.

Madrid's European ambitions hamper league goals

It was very apparent in the second half of the season that Los Blancos were putting their eggs in the Champions League basket, something which didn't pay off as they lost to Manchester City in the semi-finals. 

Carlo Ancelotti's side did manage to win the Copa del Rey, overcoming Osasuna in the final, but more will be expected from the Italian tactician in the 2023/24 campaign. 

Madrid are currently searching for a new striker following the announcement Karim Benzema will leave and reports are linking Tottenham talisman Harry Kane with a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu. 

The England international is 6/4 to join Real in Transfer Specials market, while there are also rumours claiming Chelsea's Kai Havertz is also a potential option.

Osasuna secure long-awaited European return

It was a frantic final day of the season in Spain and it was one that Osasuna managed to come out on top in, as they defeated Girona 2-1 to secure seventh and seal European qualification for the first time in more than 15 years. 

Huge credit has to go to the job done by Jagoba Arrasate, who will be hoping his side can reach the group stage of the Europa Conference League and continue their progression next term.

Sevilla can be optimistic

For a large part of the season, Sevilla were battling against relegation and it was not until the appointment of Jose Luis Mendilibar on 21st March when they started to show an improvement. 

Having burned through Julen Lopetegui and his replacement Jorge Sampaoli, Mendilibar managed to steer the club away from relegation trouble before then winning the Europa League. 

Los Nervionenses overcame Roma on penalties in the final, securing their place in the Champions League next season, and what could have been a disappointing campaign has turned out to be a good one. 

Mendilibar will now be hoping for a solid summer transfer window that will enable his side to compete for major honours once again in Europe, and also on the domestic scene in 2023/24.

Drama in relegation battle

Heading into the final set of fixtures, there were no less than six teams that were still in danger of being relegated and one of those sides needing a late equaliser to secure their top-flight status. 

Trailing 3-2 to already relegated Espanyol and with only three minutes of normal time left, Almeria grabbed a crucial leveller to secure the point that kept them up. 

It was a result that sent Real Valladolid down to the Segunda, joining Espanyol and Elche, as their goalless draw with Getafe was not enough to see them climb out of the bottom three.

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