Talking points from the European football leagues

The season is nearly over and the World Cup is fast approaching. Before we get to that however, there are a few titles and European trophies to be handed out. Jose Mourinho threatened to play his kids in a title decider and did indeed play some of his B team, and City had the chance to capitalise on one of their rivals dropping points.

Elsewhere, it was an immensely difficult time in Spain, especially in Cataluña where Barcelona were in mourning but had a vital trip to Villarreal to contend with. Here are ten things we learnt the weekend.

What's really important – No one in football didn't feel their heart break a little when the news filtered through that former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova had passed away at the age of 45 after losing his battle with cancer. The coach led Barca to their greatest ever points tally en route to winning La Liga but saw a career cut short because of the diease.

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Two more wins – Atletico Madrid recorded a win at the Mestalla, one of the most feared grounds in La Liga and moved closer to winning the Liga title. Simeone and his men have been flawless this term and are perhaps as close to Chelsea and Jose Mourinho as you can get – if not that bit better. Wednesday night will be a tactical spectacle that's for sure.

The other two keep pace – Real Madrid won with a couple of wonder goals from Cristiano Ronaldo who showed once again why he is the most complete footballer around. Eventually recording a 4-0 win, the title is not gone yet. Barcelona meanwhile came from behind for the second week in a row with a Messi winner dedicated to their fallen coach.

We are all monkeys – That is what was trending on twitter after Barcelona player Dani Alves picked up a banana thrown at him on the field at El Madrigal and ate it. Teammate Neymar got in on the act and posted a picture eating a banana on Instagram. A novel way to rise above racism, but the fact that it keeps happening on the continent is a massive problem.

No Cech, no Terry, no problem – And all because Chelsea had Jose Mourinho, or depending on who you support, two buses. Brendan Rodgers may have lamented the way Chelsea set up, but he was tactically out foxed and Mourinho’s men played a blinder with Tomas Kalas having a particularly assured debut in the ‘B team.’

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Advantage City – Manchester City now have the title in their hands after another shock weekend in a season where it seems, no one wants to win the league. Quite if the club can manage to get the wins they need remains to be seen and at this stage of the season it is better to have points than prizes – but having Yaya back is huge for the Citizens.

What a quandary for Everton – They may now be facing an uphill battle to get into the top four after losing to Southampton, but next they face Manchester City – who of course are the side that can stop Liverpool winning the title. With Arsenal beating Newcastle 3-0 last night, top four looks a step too far. What would Toffees’ fans then want to happen?

Mad Mario on the move – Balotelli took offence to not only being taken off by his manager but also to the opinions of Sky Italia pundits, who he then claimed – live on air – knew nothing about football. Mario’s time in Milan may be drawing to a close, but the question remains, where to next?

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Player power – Manchester United managed to record a thumping win over beleaguered Norwich, and showed that they do have quite a bit of ability in their locker. With only Wayne Rooney showing any sadness that David Moyes has departed it makes you wonder if the players did hold off under their former manager in order to get him the chop.

Window shopping – Not only are players itching to get on the field and show what they can do in the home stretch ahead of World Cup selections, there are also a fair few who will be on the move in the summer and are playing to secure their futures knowing managers have will already have one eye on the transfer market. 

What did you learn the weekend? Let us know in the comments below.