Real Madrid secure 35th La Liga title with dominant win over Espanyol | La Liga


Real Madrid secured their 35th La Liga title after beating Espanyol 4-0 on Saturday. Rodrygo scored twice, with Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema adding the gloss to ensure they wrapped things up with four games to spare.

Needing only a draw to guarantee glory once more, it took 33 minutes for Rodrygo to open the scoring. The Brazilian added a second 10 minutes later with a fine finish in a dominant display at the Bernabéu.

Asensio’s strike allowed Carlo Ancelotti to rest players as they prepare for their Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City on Wednesday, before Benzema finished things off to leave Madrid uncatchable at the top.

Madrid players celebrate by tossing head coach Carlo Ancelotti in the air.
Madrid players celebrate by tossing head coach Carlo Ancelotti in the air. Photograph: Chema Moya / EPA

Madrid’s triumph capped a remarkable milestone for Ancelotti as the Italian became the first manager to capture titles in each of Europe’s top five leagues – England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France.

It was also a record-breaking day for Marcelo, who won his 24th piece of silverware with Real Madrid. The Brazilian defender leapfrogs Gento as the player with the most trophy wins in the club’s 120-year history.

“It’s an immense joy,” an emotional Marcelo told reporters in what is set to be the last of his 16 seasons at the Spanish club. “We have won as early as possible. Today we have to celebrate, but we have an important game ahead [against Manchester City]. If we do it right, there is nothing to worry about. ”

Ancelotti, meanwhile, believes the celebrations will help lift the players’ spirits to fight back against Pep Guardiola’s side. “A celebration like this can bring an extra energy to the locker room… facing such a difficult task against a great team,” Ancelotti said.

“The season has been spectacular,” the Italian added. “Lots of regularity. Consistency. I have to thank the players for their work and their attitude. Today we have to celebrate, not to talk. I want to celebrate. ”

Roundup: Atlético beaten in Bilbao

On the day the Spanish title was handed over to their bitter rivals, Atlético Madrid‘s top-four hopes were hit as they lost 2-0 at Athletic Bilbao in La Liga.

The hosts went ahead in the eighth minute when Mario Hermoso deflected a cross-shot from Iñaki Williams into his own net. Jan Oblak produced two great saves to keep Atlético in the game but was outfoxed by Williams [pictured]who scored a Panenka penalty in the second half.

Iñaki Williams celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot.
Iñaki Williams celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot. Photograph: Quality Sport Images / Getty Images

Atlético are now just four points clear of Betis in fifth, and the Copa del Rey winners have a game in hand. Athletic boosted their own hopes of European football, closing to within a point of Villarreal after Unai Emery’s defeat suffered a shock defeat at struggling Alavés.

That result leaves Levante bottom of the pile despite a battling derby draw with valence, who led through Hugo Duro before José Gayà was sent off. Levante could not find a leveller until nine minutes from time, when Oscar Duarte headed home, and are six points from safety.

In Serie A, Naples kept their faint title hopes alive with a 6-1 rout of Sassuolowith Dries Mertens scoring twice as the hosts cut the gap to leaders Milan back to four points. Lazio climbed to fifth as Francesco Acerbi’s last-gasp winner earned a 4-3 victory at Spezia.

Sampdoria moved towards safety and left Genoa staring at the drop after winning the derby 1-0. Abdelhamid Sabiri’s close-range finish proved enough as Genoa missed an injury-time penalty. Cagliari missed the chance to pull away as they lost 2-1 at home to Verona.

Erling Haaland scored a hat-trick but still ended up on the losing side.
Erling Haaland scored a hat-trick but still ended up on the losing side. Photograph: Sascha Steinbach / EPA

In the Bundesliga, Erling Haaland hit a hat-trick for Dortmund but they still lost 4-3 at home to local rivals Bochum. Haaland had helped the hosts rally from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, but the visitors struck twice in the final 10 minutes. Mainz handed champions Bayern Munich their fifth defeat of the season, winning 3-1 at home.

Freiburg won 4-3 at Hoffenheim to climb into fourth place. Cologne climbed to sixth with a 4-1 victory at Augsburg, with Anthony Modeste on target twice. At the bottom, Stuttgart stay two points above Arminia Bielefeld in the relegation play-off spot after both sides found late equalisers at home to Wolfsburg and Hertha respectively.

In Ligue 1, Rennes tightened their grip on third place with a 2-0 home win over Saint-Etiennewho stay third from bottom. Lens fought back from two goals and a man down to draw 2-2 at home to Nantes.


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