The Rebound: Worldwide - ex-Arsenal ace scores stunner as Barcelona spark furious pitch invasion

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Wrapping up the best and strangest news and action from around the world of football, as Barcelona win La Liga and Gaël Clichy hits a screamer in Switzerland.

Welcome to our weekly rundown of the best action and biggest news from the global game – and we’ll start this week in Spain, where the title has been decided and Barcelona have been crowned champions for the first time in four years.

Three seasons of economic levers and bizarre transfer shenanigans have been put firmly in the rear-view mirror thanks to a cosy 4-2 victory over local rivals Espanyol, whose fans responded to defeat with a full-blooded pitch invasion, clashing with security and trying to force their way down the tunnel to confront the Barcelona squad – but once order was restored, the champagne spraying could commence.

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Two goals from Robert Lewandowski and a first senior strike for one-time Wonderkids Power Rankings inductee Alejandro Baldé helped to put Barça four to the good before Espanyol achieved some measure of consolation via Joselu and Javi Puado, who scored this rather luscious lob…

Espanyol ultras’ frustration partly stems from their own severely endangered position – the defeat, their third in the last four games, leaves them 19th and four points from safety with four matches remaining in La Liga, while a big win against Celta Vigo for embattled Valencia sees the ailing giants three points above the drop zone. Getafe are the current occupants of the final relegation slot, with Elche already down and out.

The title was also decided in the Netherlands, where Arne Slot’s Feyenoord sealed the deal with a straightforward 3-0 win over mid-table Go Ahead Eagles. Feyenoord finished 12 points behind Ajax last season but now find themselves 16 ahead of the fourth-placed Amsterdam side – who were themselves on the receiving end of some serious crowd concerns this weekend.

Visiting relegated FC Groningen, Ajax’s game was suspended after home fans threw pyrotechnics repeatedly onto the field of play, coating a substantial section of the ground in acrid grey smoke. In line with new KNVB guidelines – brought in to try and put a stop to rising concerns over crowd violence – the game was called off and will likely be replayed behind closed doors at a later date. Ajax still have a faint hope of making the Champions League but with PSV Eindhoven eight points ahead, the Netherlands’ most successful side will likely have to settled for a lesser European placing this season. AZ Alkmaar are a point ahead of Ajax, having played one game more.

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Meanwhile, down in Italy, the late-season league collapse of José Mourinho’s Roma is all but complete. Their 0-0 draw away to Bologna made it six games without a win and they’ve tumbled down to sixth, now six points behind the final Champions League spot with three to go. Their only hope is that Juventus are deducted enough points to knock them out of the top four at the end of the campaign. Atalanta, who lost to Salernitana, are also all but out of the running for top four.

The other big losers from this weekend’s Serie A European bunfight were AC Milan, who followed up their first-leg defeat in the Champions League semi-final with a soul-destroying 2-0 reverse against Spezia, whose win lifts them out of the relegation zone on goal difference. Milan are now four points adrift of fourth-placed Lazio, whose own dreadful run down the home straight continued with a 2-2 draw against Lecce, who are themselves very much at risk of a return to Serie B. Inter look pretty much locked in for top four, while Juve will be if they avoid any points penalties – a continuing situation which is still very much up in the air.

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The other title decided this weekend was the Greek Super League, where AEK Athens wrapped up their 13th national championship with a 4-0 win over Volos. Nearest rivals Panathinaikos could only manage a draw against Aris Salonika, but will at least get a chance to qualify for the Champions League next season. Olympiacos will have to content themselves with the Europa League after a third-place finish.

Before we take you through some of the best bangers from this weekend – and there have been quite a few absolute screamers to show off – a quick word from Germany. Both the remaining title contenders won handily, with Bayern Munich thrashing Schalke 6-0 and Borussia Dortmund clattering Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-2 to stay one point behind – while the rest of the top four is shaping up with wins for RB Leipzig and Union Berlin, who beat fifth-placed Freiburg 4-2 to give themselves a three-point buffer as they chase Champions League football for the first time.

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At the other end, Hertha Berlin took an absolute battering off 1.FC Köln, and the scoreline of 5-2 frankly flattered the visitors, who could have lost by quite a bit more. Hertha’s hopes of avoiding a slide into the 2.Bundesliga are now mathematical only. Stuttgart are in place to join them, while Schalke are most likely to face a play-off.

Snapshots

Let’s start this week by staying in Germany and having a bit of a moan. Since Sky Sports took charge of the Bundesliga broadcasting rights in the UK, they have been aggressively protecting their video rights to clips and highlights from the German top tier – which is their right, of course – whilst making no effort to make them available themselves. So you have to go to this YouTube link and go through full match highlights from Eintracht Frankfurt’s win over Mainz to enjoy Aurelio Buta’s magnificent goal, which can only be sensibly explained as temporary possession by the spirit of Marco van Basten. Not that Van Basten is dead or anything.

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All of which raises the question of why you would go to the trouble of getting hold of rights, only to make minimal use of them – why not promote the games and let viewers enjoy the best goals on social media? What does anyone gain? Too many great goals and brilliant moments have rotted away behind the barricade of video rights. If they aren’t going to share screamers, at least don’t prevent everyone else from enjoying them. Anyway, it’s not the end of the world, so rant over. Hope you enjoyed the goal…

Back to some stunning strikes which we can share with you properly, starting in Switzerland, where the 37-year-old Gaël Clichy is currently plying his trade with second-placed Servette as a makeshift holding midfielder – and has just scored the best goal of his long and storied career. Here we go:

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Meanwhile, over in the USA, Los Angeles FC’s French forward Denis Bouanga has been in fine fettle so far this season, netting 15 goals in 17 games across the MLS and Concacaf Champions League, and this absolute rocket against Real Salt Lake might be the pick of the bunch so far:

Finally, a great goal from the Argentinian top tier, where third-placed Talleres earned a surprising and impressive 2-1 win over league leaders River Plate, thanks in no small part to Rodrigo Garro letting this one rip into the top corner:

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