May 23 (Al Jazeera) – Atletico Madrid have been crowned La Liga champions for the first time since 2014 with veteran striker Luis Suarez scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory over Valladolid.
Suarez scored in the 58th minute for Atletico after Angel Correa had equalised Oscar Plano’s opener for Valladolid on Saturday.
Elsewhere, closest rivals Real Madrid beat Villarreal 2-1 but that was not enough to overhaul a two-point deficit.
Real trailed at home to a 20th-minute goal by Yeremi Pino for Villarreal.
Karim Benzema’s late headed equaliser and Luka Modric’s last-minute goal gave Real victory but it was too little, too late as Atletico claimed the title for the 11th time in their history.
Atletico finished top of the standings with 86 points, while Real finished second on 84.
“The world is going through a different phase right now so if we can give some joy to people it means so much to us,” Atletico head coach Diego Simeone told La Liga TV.
“The first thing that came to me was a smile. I wanted to laugh. I don’t know why. It is joy that is warm inside. I was thinking back to ahead of the game when we were leaving and didn’t know if we would continue after the title win. This group has a tremendous future now. The club is growing and has done a fabulous job. It is more important than the results.”
Meanwhile, an acrobatic late effort from Antoine Griezmann saw Barcelona confirm a third-placed finish in La Liga for the season, as they crept past already relegated Eibar 1-0.
Coach Ronald Koeman named a much-changed starting XI, with Lionel Messi, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba and Pedri all absent, and initially, it showed in a somewhat disjointed first half.
With the game seemingly destined for a draw, it sparked to life in the closing stages.
On 81 minutes Griezmann smashed in from an acute angle following good work from Ousmane Dembele.
Barca were given a scare four minutes from time when Takashi Inui saw an effort smash back off the crossbar, however, the Catalans held out to secure the three points.