FC Internazionale players celebrate the victory that secured their Champions League return
FC Internazionale players celebrate the victory that secured their Champions League return

CL winners end exile, Premier League minnow’s 57-year first

AFTER a thrilling season across Europe, football's biggest leagues have concluded for 2017-18.

Just one game remains in the hectic schedule, with Liverpool and Real Madrid set to do battle on May 27 for the ultimate prize in continental competition - the Champions League title.

While we don't yet know who will be crowned the best of the best for this season, it has been decided which clubs have earned the chance to compete for next year's crown.

 

A one-sided Premier League race was dominated by Manchester City as Pep Guardiola steered his team to a historically emphatic romp to the title, leaving Manchester United, Spurs and even Jurgen Klopp's Reds in their wake.

Traditional heavyweights Arsenal and Chelsea both failed to make their mark, dropping out of the coveted top four and into Europa League spots, while Burnley enjoyed a fairytale season to nab the final European qualification spot.

The Clarets will play European football for the first time since 1960-61.

Burnley sealed their first European football in 57 years
Burnley sealed their first European football in 57 years

In La Liga, it was an uncharacteristically poor season for Real, leaving Barcelona and Atletico to fight it out for the silverware.

And it was the Catalans who emerged atop the ladder, as a potent attack led by the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez sealed an impressive 14 point final margin.

Los Blancos grinded their way to third, eventually just three points adrift of their crosstown rivals, with Valencia rounding out the qualifiers for Europe's top table.

In Germany, it was yet another predictable Bundesliga victory for Bayern Munich. The Bavarians finished 21 points clear of nearest rivals Schalke, with Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund nabbing the other spots in the next season's Champions League.

While an upset in the final of the DFB Pokal (German Cup) saw Eintracht Frankfurt beat Bayern thus snatching an unlikely Europa League spot.

Juventus players celebrate their title win.
Juventus players celebrate their title win.

The Serie A proved the closest of the top leagues as Napoli finally challenged Juventus' long-standing dominance in Italy's top flight. But their dream season fell at the final hurdle, allowing Juve to squeak to their seventh consecutive title at a margin of four points.

Roma finished third, a fair distance off the top two, with former Champions League winners Inter Milan sealing a return to the competition six years in the making thanks to a stunning comeback victory over Lazio on the final day of the season.

And so another thrilling campaign came to a close, as attention shifts to the international arena with the World Cup moving ever closer.

Here's a full rundown of the European season that was…

ENGLAND

League winners: Manchester City

Cup Winners: Manchester City (League Cup), Chelsea (FA Cup)

Golden Boot: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, 32)

Champions League Qualifiers: Manchester City, Manchester United, Spurs, Liverpool

Europa League Qualifiers: Chelsea, Arsenal, Burnley

Relegated: West Brom, Stoke City, Swansea

SPAIN

League winners: Barcelona

Cup Winners: Barcelona

Golden Boot: Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 34)

Champions League qualifiers: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Valenica

Europa League qualifiers: Villarreal, Real Betis, Sevilla

Relegated: Deportivo La Coruna, Malaga, Las Palmas

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta raises the Liga trophy
Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta raises the Liga trophy

ITALY

League winners: Juventus

Cup Winners: Juventus

Golden Boot: Ciro Immobile (Lazio, 29) and Mauro Icardi (Inter, 29)

Champions League qualifiers: Juventus, Napoli, Roma, Inter

Europa League qualifiers: Lazio, AC Milan, Atalanta

Relegated: Empoli. Pescara, Palermo

GERMANY

League winners: Bayern Munich

Cup Winners: Eintracht Frankfurt

Golden Boot: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, 29)

Champions League qualifiers: Bayern Munich, Schalke, Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund

Europa League qualifiers: Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt

Relegated: Hamburger, Koln

Frankfurt's Croatian head coach Niko Kovac and his players celebrate their team's victory in the German Cup DFB Pokal final
Frankfurt's Croatian head coach Niko Kovac and his players celebrate their team's victory in the German Cup DFB Pokal final

FULL LIST OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE QUALIFIERS:

Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Valencia, Bayern Munich, Schalke, Hoffenheim, Dortmund, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Juventus, Napoli, Roma, Inter, PSG. Monaco, Lyon, Lokomotiv Moscow, CSKA Moscow, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Club Brugge, Galatasaray, Victoria Plzen (Six to be added through qualifying)

FULL LIST OF EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP STAGE QUALIFIERS

Villarreal, Real Betis, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea, Arsenal, Lazio, AC Milan, Marseille, Rennes, Krasnodar, Aves, Vorskla Poltava, Anderlecht, Akhisar Belediyespor, Slavia Prague (Others to be added via CL group stage third place finishers + qualifiers)



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