Barca sees off Real

Real Madrid accumulated a record 96 points this La Liga season, but still fell short of Lionel Messi and Barcelona's goal rout.

In the 1996-97 season, Real Madrid topped a 22-team La Liga table with a record haul of 92 points. This season, in a league containing 20 teams, Real equalled that total with two games left to play. Manuel Pellegrini's side ended its season with a final-day draw at Malaga, to finish on 96 points. In second place. Three points behind Barcelona, which romped to a 4-0 win over Real Valladolid, with Lionel Messi scoring twice to end the season on 34 league goals and 47 in all competitions.

Seldom have two sides dominated a league in such a brazen manner. In the traditionally two-horse Scottish Premier League, where Rangers and Celtic ride roughshod over everyone else almost as a rule (only once in the last decade has an Old Firm club finished outside the top two) the season ended with an 18-point gap between Celtic in second and Dundee United in third. The La Liga season ended with Real and third-placed Valencia separated by a whopping 25 points.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola praised Real Madrid's efforts, and said that the two teams had pushed each other to new heights.

“Without a Madrid so good we would not have gotten 99 points and without a strong Barca, Real Madrid would not have had so many points,” he said. “They have plenty of money and are able to make great squads but will again be our biggest rivals next year.”

Coming so close to the title with an unprecedented points tally isn't likely to satisfy Florentino Perez, Real's president, a man with a pathological desire for world domination.

The top two's results also had a bearing on the relegation battle. The point gained from the draw against Real took Malaga to 37 points, to finish a point and one place above the drop zone, containing Tenerife, Valladolid (both finished on 36 points) and Xerez (33).

Inter claims fifth successive Serie A crown

Inter Milan became the first team since Juventus (in 1934-35) to win five successive Serie A titles, ensuring it stayed two points clear of Roma with a 1-0 win over Siena. The win also secured a league and Coppa Italia double for Inter, which will vie for a treble (without precedent in either league) on May 22 with Bundesliga and German Cup champion Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.

Club top-scorer Diego Milito secured the win in the 57th minute with his 22nd league goal of the season, slotting calmly into the far corner after fellow Argentine Javier Zanetti, who wove a mazy path through the Siena defence, cutting in from the left flank, slipped him through on goal. Coach Jose Mourinho, who has won two Portuguese Leagues with Porto, two English Premier Leagues with Chelsea and, with this win, two Scudettos, said this was the toughest league win in his career.

Roma, which pushed Inter all the way to the final day, ended its season with a 2-0 win at Chievo, Mirko Vucinic and Daniele de Rossi the scorers. Coach Claudio Ranieri praised his players for recovering from an early-season slump that saw Roma in 14th place after 11 games.

“I have to compliment my players,” he said. “I remembered the pressure and the fears in my first few days at Roma. But my players have brought this Serie A to life and people have watched us with sympathy. We have lost points along the way but we have won many games coming from behind. My players have been exceptional.”

Compiled by Karthik Krishnaswamy