Primera Division

Real Madrid claim record 33rd title - La Liga in 2016/17

 
11:00am on Tuesday 14th April 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

The 2016-17 Spanish Primera Division was won by Real Madrid in what would be their record 33rd championship, as Zinedine Zidane’s outfit became the first team in history to find the back of the net in all 38 fixtures. The main challengers to the throne for Los Blancos proved to be their Clasico rivals, Barcelona, but emerged victorious thanks to a three-point gap at the top of the table, with Atletico Madrid in third. Despite a tumultuous campaign, Barca were still in with a shout for the title towards the business end of the season, but away defeats against Deportivo, Betis, Malaga, and Alaves proved to damaging when the final points were tallied. Zidane, meanwhile, proved himself as a top manager in Europe despite being previously viewed as a temporary replacement for Rafa Benitez the previous season.

CHANGES

The Spanish top-flight, in an attempt to heavily promote the brand of La Liga more effectively, dropped the sponsor of BBVA which had been in place for years before the change. It officially became known as LaLiga, but Banco Santander became a partner not long after. The transfer window was again busy, with Barcelona looking to expand their squad in order to rest some of their more key players effectively in 2016-17. Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez, Paco Alcacer, Samuel Umtiti, and Jasper Cillessen were all brought in at huge cost. Atletico Madrid went on a similar spending spree, but Real Madrid went for quality rather than quantity as they brought in Marco Asensio and Alvaro Morata.

It was an exciting pre-season for Osasuna, Alaves, and Leganes who all earned promotion in the previous season, with Leganes in particular going on their maiden adventure in La Liga. This trio got promoted at the expense of the relegated teams who they replaced - Rayo, Getafe, and Levante. The biggest managerial change in pre-season was the departure of Unai Emery to Paris Saint-Germain, with Sevilla bringing in the colourful Jorge Sampaoli as his replacement. There was also returns for Juande Ramos and Quique Sanchez Flores.

SUMMARY

The defending champions, Barcelona, got off to a flying start in the 16-17 campaign and smashed six goals past Betis in a 6-2 victory, with Luis Suarez bagging a hat-trick. This took them top of the league after the first round, but it would be one of only three rounds in which they topped the pile, with Real Madrid on top after 33 of the 38 fixtures.

Incredibly, the Blaugrana gained the biggest home win, the longest winning run, the longest unbeaten run, the two top goalscorers in Lionel Messi and Suarez, with the latter also recording the most assists, only to come out second best to Madrid.

In the two glamour Clasico fixtures in the league between Barcelona and Real Madrid, Barca just edged it after a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou and a narrow 3-2 victory away at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The highest scoring match of the campaign was to be found at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan as Sevilla defeated Espanyol 6-4 in a 10-goal epic, while the biggest home wins were recorded by Barcelona [7-1 vs Osasuna] and Atletico Madrid [7-1 vs Granada].

It is very important to lift this trophy again after so many years without being able to win La Liga. I've won everything with this club, but this title is special. This is the happiest day in my professional career.Zinedine Zidane

It was a memorable season for promoted side Leganes in the end, as they managed to secure their status in La Liga despite spending just 2 million euros in the summer, narrowly finishing above the relegation zone. This came at the expense of Granada, Osasuna, and Sporting Gijon, who would go on to drop down to LaLiga2.

Atletico Madrid, buoyed by the form of Antoine Griezmann throughout the season, finished third without much competition from Sevilla, who finished six points adrift of Los Colchoneros in fourth position. Diego Simeone’s men found themselves usually comfortable in third, but were not able to sustain a meaningful title challenge and finished 15 points behind champions, Real Madrid.

In dramatic fashion, the title race would go down to the last game of the season as Barcelona took on Eibar, while Real Madrid faced Malaga. The day started badly for Luis Enrique’s charges, who went 1-0 down against the Basque outfit, but they rallied in the second half to claim the 3-1 win. In Madrid’s match, the climactic end to the campaign was quickly curbed by Cristiano Ronaldo, who netted just two minutes in against Malaga, with a goal from Karim Benzema sealing the title 10 minutes after the break.

It was disappointment for Barca and Luis Enrique, who had previously announced his departure for the end of the season.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON

The Croatian, despite not being welcomed with open arms when he moved to Real Madrid, has catapulted himself into the conversation for best midfielder in the world, largely due to his form as Madrid won the title.

MANAGER OF THE SEASON

ZINEDINE ZIDANE

Real Madrid’s first league championship in five seasons can be attributed to the Frenchman being smarter with his squad. It takes a brave man to rest and substitute Cristiano Ronaldo.

TOP GOALSCORER

LIONEL MESSI - 37 GOALS

The Argentine easily outscored everyone else with 37 strikes, with Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo in behind with 29 and 25 goals respectively.

TEAM OF THE SEASON

GOAL OF THE SEASON

KEVIN PRINCE BOATENG’S strike is the winner not just for the finish, but the assist too, as Las Palmas netted a superb team goal against Villarreal.

MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER

ANDRE GOMES

Valencia to Barcelona

€35m

KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON

Lionel Messi’s dramatic winning goal in the Clasico against Real Madrid as he silences the Santiago Bernabeu faithful with a signature dribble through the opposition defence followed by a calm finish.

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