A vibrant final stretch compressed into five weeks resolved the longest and most unique League in history. His balance left Real Madrid champion, Barcelona mired in a deep crisis, Atlético and Sevilla accredited for the next edition of the Champions League, Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Granada savoring the honeys of the Europa League and Leganés, Mallorca and Espanyol falling into the Segunda well. A championship that closed on Sunday with a resounding victory over the most perverse adversary that football has ever faced -and not only the Spanish one- in recent decades: the coronavirus.
He strict protocol success Launched by the club’s management to get the ball rolling again, it allowed to close without any jolts but strictly sporting events a tournament that the Covid-19 interrupted in March and threatened to knock down permanently while the world was completely paralyzed. Ninety-nine days after that abrupt suspension, the tournament brought the curtain down amid widespread applause for its exciting conclusion. An example of a job well done and the ability to get ahead even in the most adverse scenarios when wills are united in pursuit of a common purpose.
With a lacerating void in the stands, canned sound, five changes per team, hydration breaks that became true downtime capable of altering the fate of duels while sifting the harmony of the footballers with their respective coaches and a very important role of video arbitration, the eleven days that the health crisis had left in the wing were ventilated in little more than a month without positive results being registered among the actors involved and with fewer injuries than those feared. A commendable feat that brought solace to those fans who were able to recover old routines, albeit altered, in the midst of widespread drama.
There will be a before and after in the world forever after the eruption of the coronavirus. Also for football, which saw confinement clear doubts and feed new ones, altering dynamics that could well have led the championship to a very different outcome than you have had. Those who best adapted to the new normality in the physical and mental areas achieved their goals, while those who assimilated the changes worse derailed.
The champion of resilience was Real Madrid, who went to the running with his head down due to a defeat at Villamarín that took away the leadership he had recovered in the classic and ended the tournament by raising his thirty-fourth wound around the league with a firm hand in those eleven ‘finals’ that decanted it. Turning the Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium into an impregnable stronghold and achieving triumphs of merit in Anoeta or San Mamés, the whites even allowed themselves the luxury of singing the alirón on the penultimate day. Their defensive strength, the union of the group and a series of casts in which the VAR was key made the difference.
The pupils of Zinedine Zidane added 31 of the 33 points of a mini-tournament that acquired overtones of the World Cup or Euro Cup due to the compressed nature of the matches. Seven more than a Barcelona ripped apart, downcast and involved in internal wars that he saw all the problems that had been plaguing him since the beginning of the year become more acute. The draws against Sevilla, Celta and Atlético condemned Quique Setién’s players, who signed the surrender with a loss against Osasuna at Camp Nou. Only the proximity of the Champions League, where he must do well the 1-1 of the first leg against Naples to be in the Final at 8 in Lisbon, has prevented the definitive eruption of that volcano in which the Catalan team has become.
Barça’s decline coincided with resurrection of Atlético and Villarreal, the two teams that best internalized the new football normality after the champion. The rojiblancos prolonged Anfield’s rush with a sweeping final effort in which they only yielded draws against Athletic, Barcelona, Celta and Real Sociedad. Their great moment of form and confidence makes them one of the great favorites to lift the ‘orejona’ in Lisbon. The ‘yellow submarine’, eighth and seven points from the strip that defined access to Europe when the stadiums were closed in March, starred in a brilliant return that allowed him to return to the Europa League with a fluffy mattress.
Special mention also for Granada, a newly promoted who will play the qualifying round of the Europa League thanks to a solid sprint that validated all the merits accumulated in the first seven months of competition.
Will not be in the second continental competition Getafe, one of the worst unemployed in this express ‘mini-league’. The Azulones, who came to flirt with the Champions, went from fifth place to eighth, after leaving 24 of the last 33 points. A collapse similar to that of Real Sociedad, which saved the furniture at the last minute, drawing against Atlético in the Metropolitano to finish sixth and return to Europe three years later.
The last act was done to him too especially long to Valencia, Athletic or Betis, who gave up positions and said goodbye definitively to the objectives that were set at the beginning of a League very different from the one we ended up knowing about a pathogen that changed everything.