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xavi-largeXavi Hernández, FC Barcelona’s most decorated and longest serving player, has announced he will leave the Catalan club after 17 brilliant years of service.

The Champions League final on 6 June will provide a fitting stage for the 35-year-old’s farewell before he links up with Qatari club al-Sadd SC on a two-year deal, with the option of a third year.

“I was offered another year but I’d made my mind up,” he explained. “It’s time to think about the future, and it’s my objective to come back here some day. This is my home, whether that’s as a coach or in another capacity. In my head and body it’s the right time to go – not in my heart as Barcelona is all there is in my heart.

cr7-ballonInteresting little piece in the Spanish newspaper Marca on Thursday that Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has met with club president Florentino Pérez to find out what the club’s intentions are for next season.

Mentioned in the newspaper that since Ronaldo arrived at the Bernebeu in 2008 he has scored 223 goals, an average of 37 per season, yet has only one La Liga title and one champions league trophy to show for it.

Reading between the lines it appears that Ronaldo thinks that Real Madrid have became a one-man team, and that they cannot compete with Barcelona and their Messi/Neymar/Suarez triumvirate unless Bale and Benzema can chip in 30 goals each next season.

Rafa-LiverpoolThe Rafa Benitez era at Napoli is coming to an end, but where the Spanish manager ends up next season is very much up for grabs. Rafa’s contract with the Partenopei is up at the end of the season and nobody expects him to renew it after two years at the Stadio San Paolo.

Benitez will be one of the top managers on the market this summer, along with Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti, and his agent is busy handling inquiries from several teams.

luis-enrique-barca2Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes his side’s 23rd La Liga title can be the launching pad for another prolonged period of success and a potential treble this season.

Lionel Messi scored the winner to hand the Catalans a fifth title in seven years with a 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday as Barcelona returned the favour after Los Rojiblancos sealed the title at the Camp Nou exactly a year ago. Barcelona face Athletic Bilbao on home soil in the Copa del Rey final on 30 May before taking on Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final a week later.

Valencia-LogoValencia are getting ready to play “the game of their lives” at Almeria on Saturday, a must-win clash to guarantee a top-four finish in the Spanish La Liga and Champions League football next season. The top three teams in Spain’s top flight qualify directly for Europe’s elite club competition next season and the side that finishes fourth goes through Champions League qualifying.

Heading into the final round of the season, Valencia sit fourth, one point clear of Sevilla and three adrift of third-placed Atletico Madrid, and boss Nuno knows they must come out on top this weekend.

We analyze the stats of Barcelona after they were crowned 2014/15 La Liga champions

Barca ChampionsBarcelona won the La Liga title as Lionel Messi fired the Catalans to a 1-0 victory over previous champions Atletico Madrid in the capital.

Four points behind before kick-off, Carlo Ancelotti’s men breathed life into the title race by taking the lead at Espanyol through Cristiano Ronaldo while Barca were still struggling to break through at the Vicente Calderon.

Messi then scored to render Real’s result irrelevant, and Los Blancos had to restore their lead through a Marcelo strike and two more Ronaldo goals after Christian Stuani managed to level for Espanyol. It finished 4-1 at El Prat, but Real’s challenge was over with one match of the season remaining.

Ahead of the La Liga meeting between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, we compare the performances of the two teams from the 2014/15 season

sevilla-europa-leagueHolders Sevilla, who crushed Fiorentina, face unheralded Ukrainians Dnipro in the UEFA Europa League final in Warsaw on 27 May.

The finalists progress to the Polish capital finale in wildly contrasting fashions. Sevilla, seeking a record fourth success in the competition, were firmly in the driving seat after last week’s 3-0 first leg success, and finished off Fiorentina with first half goals from Carlos Bacca and Daniel Carrico.

Dnipro, a former rocket factory side, on the other hand secured their first ever European final by grittily edging Rafa Benitez’s Napoli 1-0 in Kiev to go through 2-1 on aggregate.

Following the 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu that confirmed Juventus’ place in the Champions League final, we take a closer look at how the Italian side fared against Real Madrid in Spain on Wednesday night.