El Fin de La Liga: 5 winners, 5 losers
Who prevailed and who failed this year in La Liga?
Several teams fell short of achieving what they planned at the beginning of the season, and others surprised themselves beyond their wildest expectations.
Find out about the winners and the losers of the 2009/10 season in Spain's La Liga.
Winner: Barcelona Shows No Weakness in La Liga
As Barcelona's title shirt says, they "don't think of it in terms of the season, but in the history of the club."
Guardiola is now a deity in Barcelona, and the club has shown that even if key players like Ibrahimovic or Henry fail, there is enough young talent to feed three La Liga teams and then some.
99 points for Barcelona, and 34 goals in La Liga for Messi.
Loser: Villarreal Finishes Season with Nothing Left
Even without Pellegrini, even after switching coaches mid-season, even after the transition the club is going through at the moment, Villarreal was expected to finish in the top six.
This summer, Fernando Roig is going to have to think about where his club is heading: out of Europe.
With several players approaching either their last year in Villareal, or leaving in the next couple of days, and with a coach that, after all, did not have the experience needed to get the team back up and fully running, there are more questions than answers for Villareal.
Winner: Michel Shows Real Madrid Could Be His Next Stop
A coach that had his big break in Madrid as a player is now showing signs that he could be the next Guardiola.
Michel has taken Getafe, a team full of Real Madrid rejects, all the way to Europa League next year. Getafe will be back in Europe once more, and Michel seems to have lots of bigger teams looking out for him.
Loser: Deportivo Lost Ambiiton a Long Time Ago
Deportivo A Coruña started strong, but with the passing of the months (and Filipe's injury), the Gallegos showed no willingness to stay in the European spots.
Some blame the lack of attacking talent—Riki and Bodipo are simply not enough along with young Adrian, and others say a mediocre coach in Lotina will only render mediocre results.
Whatever the reason, Deportivo has once again disappointed its fans.
Winner: Mallorca Is Back to Better Days
A coach that puts as much effort on the field as he does off of it (motivational posters invade the inside of the stadium's walls) had his most difficult test the very same year his team missed a Champions League spot by one single point.
After key player Juan Arango left to Germany last summer, Manzano played some of the best soccer the island of Mallorca has seen in years, and only a goal by Sevilla in the 93rd minute kept the Bermellones away from the Champions League.
Loser: Nothing To Show for Real Madrid's Amazing Season
Real Madrid combined an incredible offense with a shaky defense. Ultimately, that killed the club's chances to clinch the title... or any title, for that matter.
Even though Los Blancos did not let Barcelona enjoy the trophy until the very last day, that is not nearly enough for millions of disappointed Madridistas. With Raul on his last legs and Pellegrini resigned to let The Special One step in, Real Madrid has another intense summer ahead.
Winner: Malaga Avoids Relegation against All Odds
At the start of the season, everybody in Spain was aware of Malaga's lack of skill and that they were a very limited team overall.
A 1-1 draw at home to Real Madrid in the very last game gave the Andalusian club one more year in La Liga, and showed that sometimes heart overpowers skill, technique, or odds.
Even though Malaga might not have the same luck next season, they have plenty of reasons to celebrate for the next couple of weeks.
Loser: Atletico Saves a Horrid Season with Cup Finals
If we analyzed Atletico's La Liga season only, it would be a forgettable one. The colchoneros ended ninth, eleven points away from local rivals Getafe.
Only four clubs conceded more goals than them throughout the season. Atletico looks horribly like Real Madrid—an amazing offensive team without any defense. The only difference is that Quique Sanchez Flores's men could take home two trophies this season, which would brighten Atletico's memory of this season considerably.
Winner: Xerez, Having the Heart To Never Give up
Xerez was relegated 10 weeks ago, with the club over a dozen points away from salvation.
An amazing run of hard-earned points gave the Andalusians chances to dream. That dream ended on the very last day, where Xerez could not beat Osasuna in Pamplona to avoid relegation.
At the end of the day, Xerez will be relegated, yes; but all of Spain applauds the modest club's heart, guts and well, cojones.
Loser: Tenerife Leaves Eight Years of Hard Work in Valencia
Oltra's men only had to beat Valencia, a team that had nothing to play for, in Mestalla, to clinch salvation.
The canarios managed to lose in the 91st minute, when even a single point would have kept them in the top division. For a team that was already fighting against all odds towards avoiding relegation, it was a notable season.
However, losing it in the last minute of the season and throwing eight years of hard work to return to La Liga away has to be a hard pill to swallow for Tenerife's fans.