Season review: Spain

FC Barcelona completed a historic treble and Sevilla FC's UEFA Europa League win means there could be five Liga sides in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Xavi Hernández, in his final season at Barcelona, lifts the Liga trophy
Xavi Hernández, in his final season at Barcelona, lifts the Liga trophy ©AFP/Getty Images

Champions: FC Barcelona
"There have been times when we've struggled, but the numbers are there for everyone to see," said coach Luis Enrique. Barcelona's season came close to unravelling in January following a cathartic 1-0 defeat at Real Sociedad de Fútbol, but that proved a turning point. A subsequent run of 18 wins from 21 matches helped them reclaim the title in fitting fashion: at the home of outgoing champions Club Atlético de Madrid.

Cup final: Athletic Club 1-3 FC Barcelona
"We started well but Messi usually appears in games like this and he was stunning and incredible," rued Athletic coach Ernesto Valverde. The Argentinian's venomous shot which broke the deadlock in the first half certainly merited awe, as did Neymar's second after a lovely one-touch move before the break. In the second period Messi sealed the Catalan giants' 27th Copa del Rey – four more than the next best, Athletic.

European places
FC Barcelona – UEFA Champions League group stage
Real Madrid CF – UEFA Champions League group stage
Club Atlético de Madrid – UEFA Champions League group stage
Sevilla FC – UEFA Champions League group stage
Valencia CF – UEFA Champions League play-off
Villarreal CF – UEFA Europa League group stage
Athletic Club – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round

Player of the year: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Messi perhaps had a point to prove (relatively speaking) after finishing the previous campaign empty-handed and he responded with one of his finest seasons. Still only 27, he surpassed Telmo Zarra as the Liga's all-time top scorer and broke the record for most hat-tricks. He totted up 43 league strikes but, above all, formed a brutal partnership with Luis Suárez and Neymar – the trio netting a record-breaking 122 goals in all competitions.

One to watch: Luciano Vietto (Villarreal CF)
A relative unknown when he arrived last summer from Racing Club de Avellaneda, the youngster racked up 18 goals and seven assists in his first 22 starts and spearheaded Villarreal's march to another top-six finish. "Vietto surprised us all because he adapted so well and so quickly," coach Marcelino said of the 21-year-old Argentinian forward. His strike at Atlético in December, when he raced past Diego Godín to fire in the only goal, was memorable indeed.

Leading scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF), 48 goals

Relegated: Córdoba CF, Almería CF, Elche CF*

Promoted: Real Betis Balompié, Real Sporting de Gijón, UD Las Palmas

* SD Eibar finished third from bottom but Elche, who ended 13th, were relegated due to financial problems