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Monday, May 18, 2009
United, Barcelona, Inter wrap up league titles
LONDON, (AP) Manchester United clinched its third consecutive English Premier League title on Saturday, while Inter Milan won its fourth straight Serie A title in Italy and Barcelona earned La Liga's championship in Spain for the first time in three years.
Saturday's results left only Germany and France undecided among the five major European leagues.
Manchester United matched Liverpool's mark of 18 league championships with a 0-0 tie Saturday against visiting Arsenal.
In a poorly played game between two of England's glamour clubs, United won their 11th league title in 17 seasons. All came under manager Alex Ferguson, who has major 25 trophies in his 23 years at Old Trafford.
"It makes you want to go on for ever," said the 67-year-old Ferguson, who already has put off retirement once.
"It was the longest 90 minutes in history. There was only one save in the match — it was a cautious match."
Amid the celebrations, Argentina striker Carlos Tevez appeared to wave farewell to the fans in his last home game with his loan deal two weeks from ending. More than a thousand United fans converged on the directors' exit and players' tunnel, demanding that the team keep him.
"It's emotional. I like Manchester, and I like the fans," Tevez said. Asked if he wanted to stay at the club, he said: "It's very difficult."
Middlesbrough, meanwhile, has little chance of survival after it threw away a lead and was held to a 1-1 draw at home by Aston Villa. Newcastle slipped back into the relegation zone after a 1-0 defeat at home to Fulham. Hull moved out of the zone with a 1-1 draw at Bolton. The final round of games is May 24.
Barcelona clinched La Liga when Real Madrid lost 3-2 at Villarreal. Barcelona has 86 points with three games left. Madrid has 78 with two to play.
This was the 19th Spanish league title for Barcelona, which completed its first domestic double in 11 years. The team won the Copa del Rey last Wednesday.
"The league is the fairest competition and a test of consistency and I think Barcelona deserved to win it," Madrid coach Juande Ramos said.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta told the club's TV station that "reality had exceeded expectations."
"In footballing terms, it is one of the best seasons in Barcelona's history, in terms of play, titles and the general state of the club," Laporta said.
Inter Milan clinched its 17th Serie A title when AC Milan lost 2-1 to Udinese. Going into the match, AC Milan needed to win, but knew Inter could still take the title if it won its match with Siena on Sunday night.
The result left AC Milan with 71 points, seven behind its cross-city rival with two matches remaining following this weekend.
Gaetano D'Agostino opened the scoring with a penalty in the first half after Antonio Floro Flores was brought down by Paolo Maldini.
Wolfsburg outplayed Hannover 5-0 behind three goals from Edin Dzeko and two from Grafite to move within a point of winning its first Bundesliga title.
Wolfsburg takes a two-point lead into the final round over defending champion Bayern Munich and Stuttgart, who meet in Munich next weekend.