Uncertainty surrounds Robert Lewandowski’s future despite his first Barcelona hat-trick, a new Real Madrid wonderkid emerges, and a Crystal Palace flop makes a case for winning the top scorer award… Here are 10 things we learned from LaLiga

Uncertainty surrounds Robert Lewandowski’s future despite his first Barcelona hat-trick, a new Real Madrid wonderkid emerges, and a Crystal Palace flop makes a case for winning the top scorer award… Here are 10 things we learned from LaLiga

Barcelona moved back into second place as Robert Lewandowski scored his first league hat-trick for the club in a 4-2 win over Valencia.

Valencia’s young guns gave a good account of themselves despite the defeat and could still end up in Europe. 

Elsewhere in La Liga on Matchday 33 Carlo Ancelotti made nine changes ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with Bayern Munich and still won against a lukewarm Real Sociedad, while racism again reared its ugly head inside Spanish stadiums, this time in Atletico Madrid’s Metropolitano. 

And Dovbyk and Sorloth were superb in front of goal once more. Here, Mail Sport’s Spanish football reporter PETE JENSON casts his eye over the weekend’s action and offers 10 things he learned.

Robert Lewandowski scored his first hat-trick for Barcelona to secure a 4-2 win over Valencia

Arda Guler and Nacho Fernandez celebrate after the Turkish midfielder's strike gave Madrid the lead on Friday

Arda Guler and Nacho Fernandez celebrate after the Turkish midfielder’s strike gave Madrid the lead on Friday

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Lewandowski chasing individual prize

After Monday’s hat-trick he has 16 goals just three behind top scorer Artem Dovbyk. You just know he’ll play every minute of what’s left of the season and will be blinkered to the finish line with only this individual prize in vision.

Lewandoski's hat-trick took his tally in the league this season to 16, three behind top scorer Artem Dovbyk

Lewandoski’s hat-trick took his tally in the league this season to 16, three behind top scorer Artem Dovbyk

 

But Lewandowski’s future is far from certain

Xavi was asked after the game whether or not it was impossible that Barcelona would try to sell the Polish striker at the end of the season and basically he tap danced around the question avoiding at all costs ruling it out. 

‘I don’t talk about individual player’s futures,’ he said despite already having done so about other players. 

Barca can’t afford Lewandowski’s rising wages – he’s due to earn more next season than this because of the way his contract was drawn up. They will sell if they can.

 

Araujo is not a £85m defender anymore

One player they might now struggle to sell, at least for the sum of money they originally wanted for him, is Araujo. 

He was at fault for the two goals conceded against Valencia last night and after getting sent off in the PSG quarter-final second leg it really is shaping up to become a poor end to the season. 

Even team-mate Ilkay Gundogan doesn’t have to point the finger anymore because it’s plain to see. He is still a huge talent but that 100m asking price? Not anymore.

Barcelona defender Araujo has gone through a late season slump and is now unlikely to fetch the club's high asking price

Barcelona defender Araujo has gone through a late season slump and is now unlikely to fetch the club’s high asking price

 

Valencia one of the overachievers of the season

Valencia will finish this season fighting for a European place; they finished the last one trying to be beat the drop. 

There was not a single starter in Ruben Barraja’s team under 25 on Monday night and the youngest squad in La Liga has so much promise for the future if owner Peter Lim can avoid sales. They were also hard done by against Barcelona. 

Barca’s Fermin Lopez looked offside and interfering when Lewandowski made it 3-2. They might have hung on with 10 men if not for that call.

 

Guler will not be going out on loan

Arda Guler will stay at Real Madrid next season. Ancelotti confirmed as much after the 19-year-old’s goal gave his team a 1-0 win at the Reale Arena. 

There has been lots of talk of the teenager going out on loan next season because he has had to wait until the penultimate month of the season to get his first league start.

He doesn’t want to and after scoring his second goal of the season he staked his claim, with Ancelotti saying after the game: ‘He will be important for us in the future.’

Guler scored his second goal of the season to earn Madrid all three points against Real Sociedad

Guler scored his second goal of the season to earn Madrid all three points against Real Sociedad

Carlo Ancelotti said after the game that the 19-year-old will be very important for his team in the future

Carlo Ancelotti said after the game that the 19-year-old will be very important for his team in the future

 

Madrid in tip-top domestic shape ahead of Bayern game

Madrid’s win made it 27 games in La Liga without defeat and it was the 17th time in the 33 league games played so far that they had kept a clean sheet. 

With such a good defensive record often a goal is enough to win the game and only once this season have they failed to score in a league game. Their domestic record is far better than Bayern Munich’s – let’s see if that counts for anything tonight.

 

Carlo has enough top top keepers for three teams!

Ancelotti now has three top goalkeepers to choose from. Kepa Arrizabalaga was man-of-the-match for Real Madrid in the win over Real Sociedad. 

Andriy Lunin is the hero of the Manchester City quarterfinal who has been first choice for most of the season. And Thibaut Courtois could play in next Saturday’s game against Cadiz because he is fit again. 

The belief is that if Courtois gets back to 100 per cent in the five league games remaining, he will play the Champions League final – if Madrid make it. Tonight Lunin will face Bayern.

Thibaut Courtois has returned to fitness following an injury ravaged campaign and he could make his comeback in next Saturday’s game against Cadiz

Thibaut Courtois has returned to fitness following an injury ravaged campaign and he could make his comeback in next Saturday’s game against Cadiz

 

Simone’s society comment doesn’t wash

There were monkey noises made towards Athletic Club’s Nico Williams at the Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday. Atletico Madrid have said they will ban the fans or fan for life if it turns out they are club members. 

Diego Simeone said after the game that the problem was ‘society’s, not the stadium’s’. But that’s a cop-out that completely misses the point. Football can’t solve the problem of racism in society; we all know that. 

But it can ensure that stadiums are sacred spaces where there is zero tolerance for racism. Passing the buck onto society won’t do. Let’s see if Atletico do punish those responsible, by telling them they don’t want their money or their support anymore.

Diego Simeone (left) blamed 'society' for the monkey noises directed at Nico Williams at the Metropolitano Stadium

Diego Simeone (left) blamed ‘society’ for the monkey noises directed at Nico Williams at the Metropolitano Stadium

 

Sorloth shines again

Villarreal have left it late but their impressive win over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday meant they took advantage of Real Sociedad losing and Betis drawing. 

They could still make the European places and that’s of huge credit to coach Marcelino who came in when they were struggling against relegation. 

It also has a lot to do with top scorer Alex Sorloth, the former Crystal Palace forward was discarded by Real Sociedad in the summer because he wanted too much money, he has been worth his weight in goals – 17 in the league.

Alex Sorloth (second from left) netted his 17th LaLiga goal of the season in Villarreal's impressive win over Rayo Vallecano

Alex Sorloth (second from left) netted his 17th LaLiga goal of the season in Villarreal’s impressive win over Rayo Vallecano

 

Ukraine’s best missed by all the top clubs

The big clubs across Europe were dozing in the summer when Girona snapped up Ukraine centre-forward Artem Dovbyk. 

That rare combination of pace and battering-ram physicality have made him too much to handle for most Spanish defences this season. His goals have played a huge part in Girona’s imminent Champions League qualification.

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