La Liga talking points: Atletico ends title drought, Betis secures Europa spot

All the talking points from the final weekend action in the La Liga.

Atletico Madrid players rejoice after winning the La Liga title on Saturday.   -  REUTERS

Atleti does it the hard way

The last time Atletico Madrid lifted the La Liga title in 2014, things went down to the final day - and it was no different seven years later.

Knowing a win would guarantee it the title, Atleti started nervously against relegation-threatened Valladolid - going behind to Oscar Plano's early strike and looking like the occasion might get to it, struggling in front of goal.

Angel Correa's equaliser did little to settle nerves as it served up a gilt-edged chance which Valladolid forward Shon Weissmann somehow contrived to miss, before Luis Suarez put his team in the driving seat.

ALSO READ | Five key moments in Atletico's run to La Liga title

There was still plenty of nerves for fans towards the end. With Real Madrid beating Villarreal in its game, all it would have taken was a Valladolid equaliser for the title to head to the other half of the Spanish capital.

Changing of the guard at Madrid and Barca?

The two giants of Spanish football had underwhelming campaigns which might mark a changing of the guard, with its ageing squads in need of overhauls.

 

Real's club captain Sergio Ramos and his Barca counterpart Lionel Messi both see their contracts expire next month, while doubts surround coaches Zinedine Zidane and Ronald Koeman, too.

ALSO READ | Zidane tight-lipped over Real Madrid future

Likewise there are questions to answer for a number of star players as both sides look to rebuild in order to compete both domestically and on the continent.

Betis's remarkable 2021 gets Europa reward

While all eyes were on the clubs battling it out for the title, Real Betis could claim to have been the league's form side in 2021.

It lost just twice in the calendar year, including a dramatic comeback from 2-0 down to beat Celta Vigo on the final day, to secure Europa League football next season.

It represents a remarkable turnaround for coach Manuel Pellegrini, who oversaw nine defeats in the first half of the campaign, which at one point saw them 15th in the league and in danger of having to fight relegation.

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