What has been going on in LaLiga this past week? Here are 10 of the top stories, from Sevilla FC reaching another Europa League final to the 'Team Of The Season' announcement.
Not only were there several important results in Matchday 35 of LaLiga Santander, but this past week also saw Sevilla FC reach another Europa League final. Off the pitch, there were also contract renewals and the retirement announcement of one of Spanish football's top 21st century strikers. All of that and more is outlined here.
Sevilla FC reach another Europa League final
Having lifted the Europa League trophy six times already, Sevilla FC have a beautiful love story with this continental competition and the Spanish side are back into another final. After drawing 2-2 with Juventus over 180 minutes of their semi-final, a header from Erik Lamela in extra time proved to be the winner on Thursday night at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. José Luis Mendilibar's side will now face Roma in the final in Budapest on May 31st.
The spoils are shared in El Gran Derbi
Just three days after the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán hosted that special European semi-final, the Sevilla FC fans packed the stadium once again for El Gran Derbi. This is always a special event in the city of Seville and a fascinating duel was played out between Sevilla FC and Real Betis, one which ultimately ended 0-0 to give each side a valuable point.
FC Barcelona have their trophy
After clinching the 2022/23 LaLiga Santander title away from home in Matchday 34, FC Barcelona then received the trophy following their Matchday 35 fixture at home to Real Sociedad. Even though La Real earned an impressive 2-1 win, it was a night for the fans at the Spotify Camp Nou to celebrate Xavi's squad of champions. The Blaugrana fans also lined the streets of the Catalan capital for an open-top bus parade to celebrate the league titles of both the men's and women's teams.
Valencia CF's youngsters are firing the team towards safety
Valencia CF now have a five-point cushion to the relegation zone, and this is largely down to the youngsters that coach Rubén Baraja has promoted from the academy. After 21-year-old Alberto Marí scored the winner away at RC Celta in Matchday 34, fellow 21-year-old Diego López then scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in Matchday 35.
Javi Guerra earns a new contract at Valencia CF
Another of the youngsters who has been making an impact for Valencia CF is 20-year-old Javi Guerra, who scored a winning goal against Real Valladolid in April. The young midfielder has been rewarded for his performances with a new contract, one which runs until 2027.
Fernando Llorente announces his retirement
Former Athletic Club, Sevilla FC and SD Eibar striker Fernando Llorente announced his retirement this past week, as he is hanging up his boots at the age of 38. The 2010 World Cup winner was a dominant presence in the penalty area over his 285 LaLiga Santander appearances, scoring 88 goals.
Juanpe is staying on with Girona
Another player who penned a contract renewal this past week is Juanpe, the centre-back who has been at Girona FC since 2016. He is one of the captains at the club and was delighted to sign a new deal to continue his career at the Estadi Montilivi, renewing this past week until 2024.
The European and relegation battles will go down to the wire
There are just three LaLiga Santander matchdays remaining and the race to finish in the European positions is so tight, along with the relegation battle. Athletic Club currently hold seventh place, the final UEFA ticket, but Girona FC and Sevilla FC are just two points behind while CA Osasuna are only three points off the Basques. At the other end, RCD Espanyol, on 34 points, and Real Valladolid, on 35 points, are inside the relegation zone, but Getafe CF in 17th place are also on 35 points. It's so tight.
The 'Team Of The Season' selections are revealed
The 15 selections who have made up the LaLiga and EA SPORTSTM 'Team Of The Season'wereannounced this past week, and they are: Marc-André ter Stegen; Alejandro Balde, Éder Militão, Jules Koundé, Nahuel Molina, David García; Luka Modrić, Pedri, Fede Valverde, Mikel Merino, Gabri Veiga; Antoine Griezmann, Robert Lewandowski, Vini Jr and Karim Benzema.
Four teams have a shot of automatic promotion on LaLiga SmartBank's last matchday
There is just one matchday remaining in LaLiga SmartBank, Spanish football's second division, and Granada CF, UD Las Palmas, Deportivo Alavés and Levante UD all enter the final day aware that they have a chance of securing automatic promotion but also knowing that they could still finish outside the top two. Making next weekend's Matchday 42 especially fascinating is the fact that UD Las Palmas and Deportivo Alavés face off against each other.