Watch: Ronaldo, Real Madrid handle Malaga to fend off Barcelona, win La Liga title
Real Madrid and Barcelona went down to the wire in La Liga and pushed each other every weekend down the stretch, but it's Real lifting the 2016-17 trophy after ending a five-year domestic title drought.
Real Madrid needed just a draw at Malaga to add a record 33rd league triumph, and it did one better, securing a 2-0 victory in a game that was never really in doubt. Barcelona needed a win over Eibar and help from Malaga, and while it took a bit to gain control at Camp Nou, it did secure a 4-2 consolation victory, falling three points shy of its rival.
Barcelona trailed Real Madrid by three points entering the day but owned the head-to-head tiebreaker, thanks to Lionel Messi's heroics in the most recent edition of El Clasico. Since then, both teams finished perfect, winning all of their games in dominant fashion. Real Madrid outscored its final six opponents 22-5, while Barcelona outscored its five foes 22-5 as well. Real Madrid, crucially, won its game in hand against Celta Vigo on Wednesday to move into first heading into Sunday's finale.
Here's how both matches unfolded:
MALAGA 0, REAL MADRID 2
Cristiano Ronaldo had no desire for drama to linger on Sunday, scoring in the second minute. Off a turnover, Real Madrid proved lethal, with Isco feeding a streaking Ronaldo with a through ball. He rounded the goalkeeper and finished into a vacant net for an early opener.
Goalkeepers Keylor Navas and Carlos Kameni exchanged big-time saves to preserve the 1-0 scoreline as the half continued.
Real Madrid eventually doubled its lead through Karim Benzema in the 55th minute, with the Frenchman cleaning up from the doorstep off a rebound.
Real Madrid closed out the win from there clinching its long-desired first-place finish and adding even more silverware under Zinedine Zidane's watch since he took over as manager midway through last season.
BARCELONA 4, EIBAR 2
Barcelona fans paid tribute to exiting manager Luis Enrique prior to the match, with the season finale his last game at Camp Nou. The club still has the Copa del Rey final against Alaves to contend, and that'll be its only potential trophy this season, based on Real Madrid's result.
It didn't start off well for Barcelona, with Takashi Inui stunning the Camp Nou faithful with an opener in the seventh minute.
Luis Suarez somehow missed a chance to pull even for Barcelona, with the Uruguayan given a gift of a breakaway on a poor backpass only to put his simple chance wide of the mark.
After Neymar was denied on a penalty shout, Suarez and Ivan Rakitic missed chances on a day looking increasingly less and less like Barcelona's.
The yips even extended to Lionel Messi, with the Argentine star pulling a chance from close range.
Barcelona was made to pay for its wastefulness, as Inui tallied his second of the day in the 61st minute. Inui had one league goal all season entering Sunday's finale.
Barcelona finally got on the board with the help of Eibar's defense. Neymar hit the post on a great chance from the left, but the rebound was put in Eibar's own net by Junca to make it 2-1 in the 63rd.
Barcelona's day didn't get immediately better, though, with Messi having a penalty saved with the chance to pull even.
There was an uptick in fortune soon after, though, with Suarez poking home an equalizer and Messi converting another penalty opportunity in quick succession, giving Barcelona a 3-2 lead.
Messi finished his season with another insurance goal–and a sensational one at that–supplying Barcelona with more cushion to secure the 4-2 win.
Barcelona settles for a second-place finish despite a 90-point campaign and a plus-79 goal differential. The club scored 116 goals in 38 matches, 10 more than Real Madrid's also-staggering total of 106.