On this Day in LaLiga History – w/18th April   

A look back at some classic games and events from this week in LaLiga history.   

18th April: Giovanni heads Barca to the title (1998) 

Giovanni Silva may not be the most widely remembered Brazilian in Barcelona history but his towering header at the back post against Real Zaragoza on 18th April 1998 was the key goal which clinched the Catalan club’s 15th LaLiga title. A versatile attacker, Giovanni also scored in both LaLiga ElClasico fixtures that season, and was an important figure as Louis Van Gaal’s Barça team streaked clear of both Athletic Club and Real Sociedad in the standings. The blaugrana have gone on to win 11 more LaLiga titles since then, often with other Brazilian attacking legends to the fore, but 1997/98 was undoubtedly Giovanni’s season. 

18th April – Cristiano Ronaldo’s final Bernabeu goal (2018) 

A burst of late pressure at the Bernabeu on April 18th 2018 saw Cristiano Ronaldo flick in Luka Modric’s cross to draw level at 1-1 and share the spoils with Athletic Club. The identity of the scorer was no surprise as Ronaldo had also netted in his side’s previous seven LaLiga games, including a four goal ‘poker’ against Girona just a month before. What nobody knew then was that the 60,000-crowd present that day had just witnessed his last ever trademark celebration in a Real Madrid shirt at the Bernabeu. The Portuguese superstar left that summer with a whopping 311 goals scored in 292 LaLiga games and two LaLiga title winners medals in his pocket. 

20th April – Seven-goal sweep for Luis Suarez (2016) 

Barcelona visited RC Deportivo in April 2016 with their form having dipped and their lead in LaLiga under pressure from challengers Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid. But any nerves were swept away by a sensational 8-0 victory at Riazor, in which Luis Suarez scored four times himself while also assisting strikes from teammates Ivan Rakitic, Leo Messi and Neymar. One of the greatest ever LaLiga individual performances included the full repertoire of Suarez’s skills – ruthless finishing, intelligent movement, boundless physicality and unselfish commitment to the cause. Most importantly it kept Barça on course for that season’s LaLiga title. 

21st April: Cristiano Ronaldo silences the Camp Nou (2012) 

Everyone at the Camp Nou on that night in April 2012 knew they were involved in a LaLiga decider. Sami Khedira found the net early in the first half to put leaders Real Madrid in control, but Barcelona were right back in the hunt when substitute Alexis Sanchez equalised with 20 minutes remaining. The visitors reacted again when Mesut Ozil’s superb pass sent Cristiano Ronaldo running clear; one touch left Barça keeper Victor Valdes out of the picture, the second sent the ball to the gaping net to settle the game and the title race. Ronaldo’s ‘calma’ goal celebration, telling the irate Camp Nou faithful to relax, further strengthened the Portuguese star’s iconic status in Bernabeu and LaLiga history. 

23rd April: ‘That’ ElClasico celebration (2017) 

One of the most entertaining ElClasico meetings in LaLiga history back on this day in 2017, saw Casemiro put Real Madrid in front only for Lionel Messi to equalise and for Ivan Rakitic to fire the visitors 2-1 ahead. It seemed advantage Barça when Sergio Ramos was sent off for a foul on Messi, but substitute James Rodriguez appeared from nowhere to make it 2-2. 

Luis Enrique’s side found enough energy for one last attack, however, and their talisman showed tremendous composure to steer a low shot past Keylor Navas for a 91st minute winner. Messi then demonstrated even more personality by removing his shirt and pointing out the name on the back to an unimpressed Santiago Bernabeu crowd. An unforgettable, iconic celebration that will go down in history.  

24th April – Three legends bow out (2010) 

Looking back now, this day in 2010 marked the end of an era with three legendary players all scoring the final LaLiga goal of outstanding careers. Thierry Henry hit his 35th LaLiga goal to open the scoring for Barcelona at home to Xerez, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 16th LaLiga goal of his only season at the Camp Nou clinched a 3-1 victory for the home side. Later that evening, the 229th LaLiga goal of Raul Gonzalez’s career opened the scoring as Real Madrid won 2-1 at Real Zaragoza, in what was the iconic number seven’s 550th and last appearance for the club. Nobody knew it then but all three would leave that summer, although the impression they made remains today. 

MG Team

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