Friday 26 May 2017

Ronaldo hat-trick takes La Liga tally to 48 as Xavi departs Barca

Xavi fought back tears as he thanked Barcelona fans for making him 'the happiest man in the world'
Xavi fought back tears as he thanked Barcelona fans for making him 'the happiest man in the world'
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Teenage Norway midfielder Martin Odegaard became Real Madrid's youngest La Liga debutant at the age of 16 when he came on as a substitute in the 58th minute of Saturday's final game of the season at home to Getafe.

Odegaard, who is 16 years, five months and six days old and joined from Norwegian top-flight side Stromsgodset in January, replaced league top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabeu as Real brought a disappointing season, in which they failed to win a major trophy, to an end.

Ronaldo struck three times, taking his tally for the campaign to 48 goals, in a 7-3 victory for the home side against their city neighbours as Real finished second, two points behind champions Barcelona.

Odegaard made his Stromsgodset debut at the age of 15 and became Norway's youngest international when he started against United Arab Emirates aged 15 years and 253 days in August, breaking a record that had stood for more than a century.

Atletico Madrid secured a berth in the Champions League group stage for next season and Deportivo La Coruna narrowly escaped relegation when they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at champions Barcelona.

Barca bade farewell to their most decorated player Xavi, 35, who announced last week he was joining Qatari side Al Sadd after 17 seasons in Barca's first team and 23 trophies, bringing to an end more than two decades with the club he joined as an 11-year-old in 1991.

"There will never be another player like Xavi and we will have to adapt accordingly now he is leaving," coach Luis Enrique after two Lionel Messi goals had put Barca in control before Deportivo's escape act.

Xavi hoisted aloft the La Liga trophy that Barca secured last weekend, their fifth in seven years and his eighth in total. He fought back tears as he thanked fans packed inside the Nou Camp arena for making him "the happiest man in the world".

Saturday's game was his 765th appearance for Barca in official competition, a club record.

In Italy, meanwhile, Barcelona's Champions League final opponents Juventus won their final home game of the season against Napoli in an atmosphere of celebration and tribute.

Massimiliano Allegri's side paraded the Coppa Italia before the game and were presented with the Serie A trophy after it, while their fans paid a moving tribute to the 39 people killed in the Heysel disaster 30 years ago this month.

Among all that there was time for Roberto Pereyra, Stefano Sturaro and Simone Pepe to earn Juve a 3-1 win.

In Germany, Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola pledged his team would come back stronger next season after they lifted the league trophy in a huge post-match party following a 2-0 victory over Mainz 05 to end their Bundesliga campaign in fine style.

The Bavarians set a Bundesliga record by keeping a 22nd clean sheet of the season, while 'keeper Manuel Neuer's 20th league game without conceding a goal was also a league record in Germany.

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