Benzema scores in farewell match with Madrid; Valladolid relegated from La Liga

Karim Benzema successfully converted a penalty kick to a rousing applause during Real Madrid’s match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. The game marked the end of his remarkable tenure with the club on Sunday.

After scoring the equalising goal in the 72nd minute against Athletic Bilbao, Benzema was replaced in what turned out to be his final game with the renowned Spanish club, concluding a 14-season stint. Earlier on Sunday, Madrid had officially announced that the French striker would not be returning for the upcoming season.

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Benzema bid farewell amidst rumors of his next destination being Saudi Arabia for the upcoming season. Having been a part of Madrid since 2009, the 35-year-old striker played an instrumental role in the club’s achievement of a record 25 titles, including five Champions League victories, five Club World Cups, and four Spanish league triumphs.

With 354 goals, Benzema concludes his Real Madrid career as the second-highest scorer of all time and has made 648 appearances, ranking him fifth in the club’s history in terms of matches played.

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Valladolid relegated from La Liga

Getafe held Valladolid to a goalless draw, resulting in the latter’s relegation. This also made them the final team to be demoted. Despite having spent the previous season in the second division, Valladolid needed a win to secure a place in the top flight.

Six teams were battling to avoid relegation heading into the last round: Valladolid, Celta Vigo, Almeria, Valencia, Getafe, and Cadiz. Almeria managed to escape the drop zone with an 87th-minute penalty. Adrian Embarba converted the goal in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Espanyol.

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Valencia secured their safety with a 1-1 draw against Real Betis. Celta Vigo, meanwhile, survived with a 2-1 home victory over the champions, Barcelona. Gabri Veiga scored both goals for his side.

Barcelona finished the season with 88 points, 10 more than Real Madrid and 11 more than Atletico Madrid. Espanyol and Elche had already been relegated prior to the final round.

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Osasuna book Europa Conference League spot

In the battle for the last available European spot, Osasuna secured seventh place by defeating Girona 2-1 at home, earning them a spot in the Europa Conference League. Athletic Bilbao finished in eighth place, just two points behind Osasuna, while Mallorca’s 3-0 win over Rayo Vallecano placed them ninth, three points adrift of Osasuna.

Real Sociedad claimed the final Champions League qualification spot, while Villarreal and Betis secured places in the Europa League.

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Meanwhile, retiring forward for Betis Joaquin Sanchez equalled the record for the most league appearances with 622 games. The record was held by former Spanish and Barcelona goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta. The 41-year-old spent most of his career with Betis and also played for Malaga, Valencia, and Fiorentina in Italy. He bid farewell to the pitch by kissing the ground before being substituted in the 60th minute.

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