Real Madrid finished the longest season in history as champions, but there’s so much more to unpack after a season which has been anything but normal.
Real Madrid are champions
This year’s title race was a tense two-horse race between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, with Los Blancos overcoming their rivals with a game to spare, ultimately finishing with 87 points – five more than FC Barcelona’s 82.
For Real Madrid, this was their first title since 2016/17 and a record 34th in club history. It’ll have made Zinedine Zidane especially happy as the French coach has consistently spoken about how he believes LaLiga Santander is the most difficult league in the world and about how there is so much value in being the best team over a 38-match competition. As he said after mathematically securing the title: “the Champions League is the Champions League, but this title makes me happier because LaLiga is what it’s all about.”
Sevilla FC climb back into the Champions League
Sevilla FC love the Europa League and have won it more times than any other club in history (5). Even so, this season they’ve managed to displace Valencia – who’d finished fourth in the last two seasons – and nab the fourth and final Champions League spot for next season.
In the first season back for sporting director Monchi and a debut season for coach Julen Lopetegui, they’ve ensured they’ll join Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid in UEFA’s elite competition in 2020/21.
More European joy in Andalusia
Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán isn’t the only stadium in Andalusia set to host UEFA matches next season. Granada CF have also made it into European competition, doing so for the first time in their history. Many expected the newly promoted side – who were promoted as LaLiga SmartBank runners-up last summer – to struggle, but Diego Martinez’s men have thrived against all the odds and finished seventh, ahead of teams with European pedigree. They’ll join Villarreal CF and Real Sociedad in the Europa League next season, with Getafe CF and Valencia CF just missing out.
The other success stories of 2019/20
Even if they didn’t qualify for Europe, CA Osasuna – another newly-promoted side –also had an excellent campaign, finishing in 10th. The rojillos, who were founded in November 1920, now head into the summer knowing that they’ll celebrate their centenary in the top flight next season.
Real Valladolid and SD Eibar are also worth highlighting. They finished 13th and 14th respectively, despite working with two of the smallest budgets in the division.
The relegation battle that went down to the final day
This year’s relegation fight went down to the final seconds of the final day of the season. CD Leganés came so close to shocking Real Madrid and grabbing a winner in stoppage time but fell just short of the victory which would have handed them survival. Instead, their 2-2 draw mean that RC Celta’s goalless draw at RCD Espanyol was enough to keep the Galicians up. Lega go down after four years in the top division, while top-flight football will be coming to Vigo again next season.
RCD Mallorca and Espanyol have also been relegated to LaLiga SmartBank, with Espanyol having struggled to cope with the demands of playing Europa League football on Thursdays and domestic fixtures at the weekend. Despite reaching the knockout rounds of this year’s Europa League, the Catalan club finished rock bottom in LaLiga Santander, showing just how competitive it can get down at the bottom.
Mallorca return to the second tier after a single year in the top flight. Relegation after two back to back promotions means the islanders haven’t spent back-to-back seasons in the same division for four years now.
Welcome to LaLiga Santander, Cadiz CF and SD Huesca
The three relegated teams will be aiming to do just what SD Huesca did this season by securing a bounce-back promotion. The team from Spain’s north-eastern Aragon region are coming straight back up after securing automatic promotion from LaLiga SmartBank along with Cadiz CF, who have gifted the carnival city top-flight football for the first time since 2006. One promotion spot remains to be decided, with a number of clubs still in contention for the four playoff spots.