Here's what's happened in LaLiga in recent years during this week, with landmark moments for Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres, Javier Saviola & Michael Owen!
🇦🇷 Javier Saviola signs off in style
26 May 2013
Marked out as one of world football’s brightest talents as a teenager in his native Argentina with River Plate, Javier Saviola scored his first LaLiga goal in a Barcelona jersey back in 2001. A diminutive playmaker or striker known as ‘the little rabbit,’ he went on to play for Sevilla and Barça’s eternal rivals Real Madrid, where he won a LaLiga title medal in 2007/08. While his career maybe never quite hit the predicted heights, he also delighted fans at his clubs in France, Portugal, Greece and Italy. His final season in Spain was with Malaga in 2012/13, when he helped the Andalusians to reach the Champions League quarter-finals. His last contribution in a Malaga shirt was a goal and assist in a 3-1 win for Malaga at home to RC Deportivo on May 26th 2013, which was crucial to securing a return to European football for the following season.
⛈ The first of many for Fernando Torres
27 May 2001
2000/01 was not the most memorable season in Atletico de Madrid’s history, with the team down in the second-tier LaLiga SmartBank. But May 27th 2001 went down in club history as the day an angel-faced local boy named Fernando Torres debuted in the rojiblanco first team aged just 17, as a second-half substitute in a 1-0 win at home to neighbours Leganes. Torres settled quickly into the team, scoring his first senior goal at Albacete just a week later. Within a couple of seasons, he was captaining Atletico back in the top flight, going on to score 103 goals in 281 games across two spells with his club. The scorer of the winning goal for Spain in the Euro 2008 final is currently completing his coaching qualifications, with a clear ambition to return to Atletico at some point in the future.
🦁 Michael Owen’s last goal in LaLiga
28 May 2005
Michael Owen’s time as a Real Madrid player is perhaps not as well-remembered as it should be, with the England striker scoring 13 goals in limited playing time, including crucial match-winners in tight LaLiga games against Valencia and Albacete. The 2001 Ballon d’Or winner had the technical quality to fit among the club’s galacticos of the era, but fitness and cultural factors did not help him settle in the Spanish capital. His last Real Madrid goal came on the final day of the 2004/05 campaign when he netted the opener in a 3-1 win at Real Zaragoza from a fine Zinedine Zidane assist. Owen is still remembered fondly around the Santiago Bernabeu as part of a British connection stretching from Laurie Cunningham through David Beckham to current superstar Gareth Bale.
🦁 Samuel Eto'o never stops scoring
30 May 2009
Barcelona’s 2008/09 treble-winning season was coming towards its final minute, at RC Deportivo on May 30th 2009, but Samuel Eto’o was not finished yet. Pep Guardiola’s team had already secured a LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble, and Guardiola’s heavily rotated team were 1-0 down away on the final day of the campaign. Eto’o was not happy to leave it at that, however – perhaps knowing it would be his last appearance in a Barça shirt – and smashed home a loose ball in the penalty area to ensure the Blaugrana did not end the season on a low. The Cameroon international's 162nd LaLiga goal also turned out to be his last of a career which also included spells at Espanyol, Real Madrid, Leganes and RCD Mallorca. He left Barcelona that summer, having won three LaLiga titles plus the 2005/06 top scorer award.
🔥 Juanfran brings the roof down
31 May 2009
The final day of 2008/09 LaLiga season kicked off with five teams battling it out to avoid filling the last remaining relegation place. R. Sporting, Real Valladolid, Real Betis, Osasuna and Getafe all needed the right result to avoid the drop. The situation kept changing dramatically through the afternoon, and when the dancing stopped it was Betis who dropped down into LaLiga SmartBank. Among the heroes to save their clubs was a young Osasuna winger called Juanfran Torres, who slammed home a sensational volley from outside the penalty area against his former team Real Madrid to clinch three crucial points. Juanfran went on to win a LaLiga title with Atletico de Madrid in 2014.
Another piece of history made that day? His strike at El Sadar remains in the record books for LaLiga’s loudest-ever celebration, with the roars of joy and relief reaching over 115 decibels, not far off the noise level generated by a jumbo jet engine.
📲 Read more about the best Africans in LaLiga history