On this day in La Liga history

2020-04-20 16:38
Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo (Getty Images)

A look back at some classic games and events from this week in La Liga history.

Seven goal sweep for Luis Suarez (2016) - 20 April

Barcelona visited RC Deportivo in April 2016 with their form having dipped and their lead in La Liga under pressure from challengers Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid. But any nerves were swept away by a resounding 8-0 victory at Riazor, in which Luis Suarez scored four times himself while also assisting strikes from teammates Ivan Rakitic, Leo Messi and Neymar. One of the greatest ever La Liga individual performances included the full repertoire of Suarez’s skills - ruthless finishing, intelligent movement, boundless physicality and unselfish commitment to the cause. Most importantly it kept Barça on course for that season’s La Liga title.

Cristiano Ronaldo silences the Camp Nou (2012) - 21 April

Everyone at the Camp Nou on that night in April 2012 knew they were involved in a La Liga decider. Sami Khedira found the net early in the first half to put leaders Real Madrid in control, but Barcelona were right back in the hunt when substitute Alexis Sanchez equalised with 20 minutes remaining.

The visitors reacted again when Mesut Ozil’s superb pass sent Cristiano Ronaldo running clear; one-touch left Barça keeper Victor Valdes out of the picture, the second sent the ball to the gaping net to settle the game and the title race. Ronaldo’s ‘calma’ goal celebration, telling the upset Camp Nou to relax, further strengthened the Portuguese star's iconic status in Bernabeu and La Liga history.

Lionel Messi decides El Clasico (2017) - 23 April

One of the most entertaining Clasicos in La Liga history back on this day in 2017, saw Casemiro put Real Madrid in front only for Lionel Messi to equalise and for Ivan Rakitic to fire the visitors 2-1 ahead. It seemed advantage Barça when Sergio Ramos was sent off for a foul on Messi, but substitute James Rodriguez appeared from nowhere to make it 2-2.

Luis Enrique’s side found enough energy for one last attack, however, and their talisman showed tremendous composure to steer a low shot past Keylor Navas for a 91st-minute winner. Messi then demonstrated even more personality by removing his shirt and pointing out the name on the back to an unimpressed Santiago Bernabeu crowd. An unforgettable, iconic celebration.

Three legends bow out (2010) - 24 April

Looking back now, this day in 2010 marked the end of an era with three legendary players all scoring the final La Liga goal of outstanding careers. Thierry Henry hit his 35th La Liga goal to open the scoring for Barcelona at home to Xerez before Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 16th La Liga goal of his only season at the Camp Nou clinched a 3-1 victory for the home side. Later that evening, the 229th La Liga goal of Raul Gonzalez’s career opened the scoring as Real Madrid won 2-1 at Real Zaragoza, in what was the iconic number seven's 550th and last appearance for the club. Nobody knew it then but all three would leave that summer, although the impression they made remains today.

David Villa bursts onto the stage with a 'poker' (2004) - 25 April

Young Real Zaragoza striker David Villa was already gaining a reputation as an emerging La Liga star before his team visited Sevilla on this day in 2004. A four-goal ‘poker’ in an amazing 4-4 draw at Sevilla that Sunday lunchtime launched ‘El Guaje’ as one of Spanish football’s biggest stars for the next decade. Over a career which later featured starring roles at Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid, he scored 185 goals in 353 La Liga games, while also winning La Liga titles as both a Blaugrana and a Rojiblanco player.

Real Sociedad beat Basque rivals to the title (1982) - 26 April

There have been few bigger Basque derbies in history than Real Sociedad's 2-1 victory at home to neighbours and rivals Athletic Club on this day in 1982, a result which secured the La Liga title for the team from San Sebastian. Their league victory came during a period of unprecedented Basque dominance. La Real had also won the trophy in 1980/81, while Athletic recovered to finish top in both of the following two seasons. These two sides continue to challenge year after year: both Athletic and La Real have shown their strength this season by reaching the Copa del Rey final.

- La Liga media

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