10 things we learned in the final week of the LaLiga Santander season

The 2022/23 LaLiga Santander season has been completed, with the final matchday taking place on Sunday night. All the main storylines from the final day are outlined below, along with the other big pieces of news from the past week.

Embarba saves UD Almería, while Real Valladolid are relegated

Ahead of the final round of the season, six teams were at risk of relegation and they were separated by just two points. With only a few minutes to go in the Matchday 38 fixtures, the final relegation spot was occupied by UD Almería. But, Adrián Embarba stepped up to convert a late penalty and score his second goal of the day to earn UD Almería a 3-3 draw at RCD Espanyol, which saved the Andalusian side and meant that Real Valladolid, who could only draw 0-0 with Getafe CF, suffered relegation to LaLiga SmartBank.

Veiga is the hero in Vigo

RC Celta were one of the other teams at risk of relegation on the final day, but the Galician side defeated champions FC Barcelona 2-1 to rise all the way up to 13th in the table. Gabri Veiga was the hero by scoring both goals, his 10th and 11th strikes of what has been a remarkable breakthrough season for the 21-year-old.

CA Osasuna are back in Europe

European football is coming back to Pamplona, as CA Osasuna defeated Girona FC 2-1 on the final day to hold on to seventh place and to book a spot in next season’s Conference League. Jagoba Arrasate’s side have put together an excellent season, in which they also collected a runners-up medal in the Copa del Rey, and their reward is a first campaign in Europe since 2006/07.

Sevilla FC are Europa League champions for a seventh time

For the seventh time in club history, Sevilla FC have lifted the Europa League trophy. The Andalusian club defeated Roma in the final held in Budapest last Wednesday, doing so via a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw. After scoring the winning penalty in the World Cup final, Gonzalo Montiel was the hero in this shootout too as he fired Los Nervionenses to glory.

Spain has more teams in UEFA competitions than any other league

The fact that Sevilla FC have won the Europa League while finishing outside the top seven in LaLiga Santander speaks to the competitiveness of Spanish football’s top division and also means that Spain has eight representatives in UEFA competitions next season, more than any other league. In addition to the seven teams who qualified through their league position, Sevilla FC have also qualified for the Champions League courtesy of their Europa League triumph.

No player has made more LaLiga Santander appearances than Joaquín

Sunday night was an emotional one at the Estadio Benito Villamarín, as Joaquín played the final game of his long career and was substituted off in the second half to an emotional standing ovation. The Real Betis legend is retiring this summer and he matched a record in his final game, a 1-1 draw with Valencia CF, one of his former clubs. That took Joaquín’s LaLiga Santander appearances total to 622, meaning he hangs up his boots with exactly the same number of top-flight outings as Andoni Zubizarreta.

Benzema leaves Real Madrid as a legend

There was also an emotional farewell at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, as Karim Benzema announced on Sunday morning that he is leaving Real Madrid after 14 incredible seasons at the club. After equalising for his team in a 1-1 home draw with Athletic Club, the Frenchman was substituted off to receive the affection of the crowd, bidding farewell to Real Madrid as the player with the most titles in club history, with 25.

Real Madrid secure second place

In addition to the final European and relegation spots, one of the other pieces of businesses that had to be decided on the last matchday was second place. Atlético de Madrid entered stoppage time ahead of city rivals Real Madrid, but a late Villarreal CF goal earned them a 2-2 draw against Atleti and meant that Carlo Ancelotti’s side finished the season in the runners-up spot.

Lewandowski, Ter Stegen and Joselu seal their individual awards

With the 2022/23 LaLiga Santander season being wrapped up, the winners of the main individual awards are now confirmed. Robert Lewandowski has won the Pichichi as the top scorer of the competition, with 23 goals, while his FC Barcelona teammate Marc-André ter Stegen has won the Zamora Award for conceding just 18 goals all campaign. Meanwhile, RCD Espanyol striker Joselu has claimed the Zarra Trophy, for the top-scoring Spaniard, after netting 16 goals.

The Women’s Champions League belongs to FC Barcelona

Barça fans had further reason to celebrate this week, as FC Barcelona Femeni produced a jaw-dropping comeback victory against Wolfsburg to win the Women’s Champions League final 3-2. This is the second time in three years that the Catalan club has lifted this trophy, which is a major step forward for women’s football in Spain.

Media Desk

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