Real Madrid clinched their first La Liga title since 2017 following a 2-1 victory over Villarreal on Thursday.
Real wrapped up the title with a game to spare after a Karim Benzema brace secured victory.
In an empty Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, Benzema opened the scoring in the 29th minute. The forward added a second in the 77th minute from the spot.
Vincente Iborra pulled a goal back late in the game, but it was to late for the visitors.
Zinedine Zidane’s side were crowned La Liga Champions for the 34th time in their history. They head into the final day of the season with a seven-point lead over second place Barcelona.
Since the restart back in Spain in June, Madrid have won ten consecutive matches and have been unstoppable.
“Today is one of the best days for me as a professional,
“After everything that happened, the three-month break, it is fantastic what has been achieved.”
La Liga titles have been in short supply for Real, this is only their third in the past nine seasons.
However, when it comes to European success it is a different story. They won three consecutive European Cups in Zidane’s first tenure.
What makes Real’s success this season even more remarkable is that last season they were also rans behind Barcelona. Barca finished a notable 19 points clear of their rivals and looked favourites to complete another La Liga triumph this season before a ball was kicked.
However, Zidane’s troops had other ideas. The Frenchman has always been hailed for his man-management abilities and tactics.
Despite virtually having the same squad as last season, Zidane knew there was a problem defensively with the side. This campaign has seen Madrid a much solid unit at the back.
As a result, they currently boast the best defensive record in the league having conceded only 23 goals in 37 games thus far. This is half the number of goals conceded in their last campaign.
Ferland Mendy has looked assured at left back and Raphael Varane having the best season of his career. Thibaut Courtois, meanwhile, is looking back to his best between the sticks and with Sergio Ramos such a competitive leader along with the outstanding Casemiro, this side oozes quality.
Madrid have had goals in them all season with 21 different players getting in on the scoresheet. In fact, their forward line has fired blanks all season.
That said it is an all-round squad that performs in all departments that will win you silverware and Real have proved this.
On a night of high celebrations, it was noticeable that Gareth Bale wasn’t one of those joining in the fun.
The Welshman was pictured standing away from the group. Bale was also spotted tamely punching the air at the end of the back row. He was then caught on camera attempting to trip up his teammates as they jumped around in a circle.
Make of that what you will but could that be a message to the Spanish giants to say I’m off soon, thank you very much?
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has come out and been critical of his Barca colleagues, saying “things have to change” at the club.
He went on to add:
“We are a weak team who can be beaten with enough intensity and enthusiasm.”
Scathing words indeed from the world’s greatest footballer. That said, the magician has a good point.
Barcelona haven’t performed up to their normal high standards this season. They have looked as always to Messi to lead from the front, which he has and delivered as well.
It is others who are not keeping up to the very hight standards of performances that Barca expect from them.
Overall, Real Madrid have deserved their La Liga title and they will be a difficult act to catch again next season. Barcelona have to raise their standards for the next campaign, otherwise Zidane will be smiling from ear to ear once more.