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La Liga champs Barca lose last match, Benzema plays final game for Real Madrid – EFE Noticias

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Sports Desk, June 4 (EFE).- In La Liga action on the last day of the season, No. 13 Celta de Vigo dealt a 2-1 loss to this year’s champions, Barcelona, on two tallies by Gabri Veiga.

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema embraces team manager Carlo ancelotti before leaving the pitch after being replaced during his last La Liga match for the club on June 4, 2023, against Celta de Vigo at Santiago Bernabeu stadium. EFE/ Mariscal

Franck Kessie had scored an initial goal for Barca in the first half but VAR review ruled it out for offside, and then Veiga sank one just before the intermission on an assist by Haris Seferovic and doubled it in minute 65 on a shot that deflected off the post and into the twine to keep the hard-driving Celta alive for next year in First Division Spanish soccer, finishing the season with 43 points, the relegation threshold being at 40.

File photo showing fans in the stands of the Camp Nou in Barcelona. EFE/ Alberto Estevez

Ansu Fati headed in a fabulous cross from Ousmane Dembele in the 79th minute for the lone Barca score.

Second-place Real Madrid battled to a 1-1 draw at home with 8th-ranked Athletic Bilbao, the match being Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema’s last outing with the capital squad at Bernabeu, during which he sank a penalty kick in the 72nd minute to salvage a draw from what looked to be a last-day loss.

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Oihan Sancet had scored first for Athletic in minute 49.

Benzema will leave the club as a free agent after 14 years wearing a Real Madrid jersey and will join Saudi Pro League side Al Ittihad on a two-year contract, Saudi state television confirmed.

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“Real Madrid Football Club and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to bring his brilliant and unforgettable time as a player at our club to a close,” Real said in a statement.

“One of the best players in the world, one of the best on the planet. A complete footballer, a very nice, humble, serious person,” manager Carlo Ancelotti said at a post-game news conference.

“We can’t be happy, but we have to respect his decision. … What he’s done for this club is legendary, unforgettable, it will be in this club’s history forever,” Ancelotti added.

In other La Liga action, No. 3 Atletico de Madrid emerged with a 2-2 road draw against fifth-place Villarreal, while No. 4 Real Sociedad got a 2-1 win off of 12th-ranked Sevilla.

Real Betis, in the sixth spot, could manage only a 1-1 draw vs. No. 16 Valencia, while Osasuna in seventh place eked out a 2-1 home win against 10th-place Girona.

No. 9 Mallorca blanked No. 11 Rayo Vallecano 3-0 at home, and this year’s three relegated teams – Real Valladolid, Espanyol and Elche – ended their seasons with draws against Getafe (0-0), Almeria (3-3) and Cadiz (1-1), respectively.

EFE –/bp

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