Mesi bags four
Lionel Messi is congratuled by his teamates Pedro Rodriguez (left) and Sergio Busquets after scoring one of his four goals. Photo: AFP
Barcelona star Lionel Messi scored all four goals in a 4-0 rout of Espanyol to bring up his half century in La Liga and take his total goals tally for the season to a record-breaking 72. In what was Pep Guardiola's last home match in charge at the Nou Camp, Messi made sure there was a happy ending to what was an emotional night for the home fans. Ronaldo scored a goal in Real's last-gasp 2-1 win over Granada, leaving the Portugal striker on 45 league goals, five behind Messi with one league match remaining. Messi is now also the undisputed all-time top-scorer in the history of European soccer, having overtaken the previous record of 67 goals scored by German Gerd Mueller for Bayern Munich in a single season in the 1970s.
Roma all but crashed out of contention for a place in Europe next season with a limp performance in a 2-2 draw at home to Catania on Saturday. With rumours abounding that Spanish coach Luis Enrique will be replaced by former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas at the end of the season, this was hardly the way Roma would have wanted to end its home campaign. Goals from Francesco Lodi, from the spot, and Giovanni Marchese were sandwiched between a Francesco Totti brace for the host side. It was the emblematic club captain Totti's 500th Serie A appearance for the giallorossi but he also missed an early penalty. And the 35-year-old took the blame for the dropped points. Roma is now mathematically out of Champions League contention.
DORTMUND SETS RECORD
Cologne had its German league relegation confirmed on Saturday, while Borussia Dortmund broke the Bundesliga record for the most points in a season with a 4-0 thrashing of Freiburg. 'My team has erased any doubts and proven their character,'' said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp after his side finished the season eight points clear of Champions League finalists Bayern Munich. ''They have shown an impressive appetite for football. Something extraordinary has happened: we have got 81 points, which no team will beat any time soon.'' Dortmund's second consecutive title triumph allowed it to break Bayern's long-held record of 79 for the most points amassed in a season (Bayern twice picked up the equivalent of 79 points when two points were awarded for a win).
Manager Alex Ferguson has launched an inquest into Manchester United's campaign and claims his team's ''stupid'' 4-4 draw with Everton will be to blame if it fails to secure the Premier League title. United, which boasted an eight-point lead at the top of the table a month ago, heads into the penultimate weekend of the campaign with hopes of winning a record 20th crown out of its hands. Ferguson and his players must beat Swansea at Old Trafford on Sunday and hope fifth-placed Newcastle stops leader City from winning. Failure to win the Premier League will leave United facing the rare prospect of a trophy-less season and Ferguson has already started an investigation into why his players have tailed off.