Juventus last night won their first Serie A crown since 2003 as a Diego Milito hat-trick sunk title rivals AC Milan.
Juve beat Cagliari 2-0 in Trieste, while Milan went down 4-2 to city rivals Inter in a thrilling San Siro derby.
The results left the Turin side four points ahead of the Rossoneri with one game of the season to go.
It was Juve’s first Scudetto since returning to the top flight of Italian football following the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.
The unbeaten leaders went into the penultimate round of fixtures with a one-point advantage over Milan and duly saw off Cagliari in Trieste.
Mirko Vucinic opened the scoring with a neat finish in the sixth minute and the points were sealed when sub Marco Borriello netted in the 71st minute, three minutes after coming on.
Events at the San Siro were far more dramatic as Milan fought back from conceding an early goal to Milito to lead 2-1 early in the second half thanks to a brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Swede levelled with a penalty a minute before the break, which replays showed should not have been awarded, and netted again a minute after the restart.
But Milito got his second from the spot in the 52nd minute and the referee gave a third penalty 10 minutes from time which the Argentinian converted to complete his hat-trick. Needing to win to take the title race to the final day because of their inferior head-to-head record with Juve, Milan knew the game was up and Maicon compounded their misery when he lashed home a superb fourth in the 87th minute.
Lionel Messi ensured Pep Guardiola received the perfect Nou Camp send off with a four-goal salvo as Barcelona crushed Espanyol 4-0 on Saturday night.
In Guardiola’s final home game in charge before he stands down to make way for his assistant Tito Vilanova, he received a parting gift from arguably the most influential player over his four-year reign.
Although Guardiola has two more games in charge — the league trip to Real Betis next weekend and the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao — this was the Catalan public’s final chance to say farewell.
“Life has given me this present,” said. “For five years I have been able to have you close to me and enjoy the great show that these boys have given us.
“I’ve been no different than you — I’ve been equally privileged. A little closer to the pitch maybe, but I’ll take this privilege with me.
“You can’t imagine the happiness and pleasure I’ll take with me.”
Messi was again magnificent as he moved on to 72 goals in what has been a remarkable season — 50 of which have come in La Liga. He now has 251 in 327 Barcelona appearances.
The Argentinian opened the scoring with a free-kick and completed his hat-trick with a trademark burst and finish.
Goals two and four were from the penalty spot even though Espanyol could feel aggrieved by both spot-kick awards.
Real Madrid shook off their title-winning hangover in the nick of time to serve Granada a relegation warning with a 2-1 victory.
Franco Jara put Granada ahead with five minutes gone.
But in the final 10 minutes Cristiano Ronaldo won and converted an equalising penalty, before David Cortes put Karim Benzema‘s injury-time cross into his own goal.
Then, at the final whistle, Granada’s players surrounded police-protected referee Clos Gomez, with Cortes and Borja Perez shown red cards, while the official also seemed to be hit by a bottle thrown by one of the players.
The fight to stay in the top flight will go to the final weekend. Second-bottom Sporting Gijon are in most danger, three points behind Real Zaragoza and Rayo Vallecano. Villarreal and Granada are also not yet safe.
Villarreal lost 1-0 at local rivals Valencia, Jonas grabbing the only goal in the last minute. Los Che are now guaranteed to finish third after Malaga lost 2-1 at Atletico Madrid. Atletico are now two points behind Malaga in the pursuit of fourth spot and the final Champions League place.
The match between Copa del Rey and Europa League finalists Athletic Bilbao and Getafe ended goalless at San Mames.
In Germany, Cologne were relegated after suffering a thumping 4-1 home defeat to Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund celebrated winning their second successive title in style with a record-breaking 4-0 win over Freiburg.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar bagged a brace to help third-placed Schalke end their season on a high after their 3-2 win at Werder Bremen.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved