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Real Madrid eye Champions League final after clinching La Liga title

Ancelotti believes the celebrations can help lift the players' spirits to fight back against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City next week



About 150,000 jubilant Real Madrid fans flocked to the city's central Cibeles fountain on Saturday to join the players for a celebration of their record-extending 35th La Liga title. (Reuters)
About 150,000 jubilant Real Madrid fans flocked to the city's central Cibeles fountain on Saturday to join the players for a celebration of their record-extending 35th La Liga title. (Reuters)

By Reuters

Published: Sun 1 May 2022, 12:56 AM

Real Madrid claimed a record-extending 35th La Liga title on Saturday after two first-half goals from Rodrygo spurred them to a 4-0 thrashing of mid-table Espanyol in front of the jubilant home fans at a packed Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

The win also made their Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti the first manager to capture titles in each of Europe’s top five leagues — England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France.

Rodrygo’s double put Real 2-0 up at the break before Marco Asensio added a third after 55 minutes and La Liga top scorer Karim Benzema sealed the points in the 81st.

Captain Benzema lifted the trophy after coming off the bench late in the second half as Ancelotti rested several regular starters with Real hosting Manchester City in their Champions League semifinal second leg on Wednesday trailing 4-3.

Real have 81 points with four games to go. They are 17 points ahead of second-placed Sevilla and 18 clear of Barcelona, who have a game in hand, and needed a point against Espanyol to clinch the title with almost a month of the season remaining.

It was a record-breaking day for defender Marcelo, who won his 24th piece of silverware with Real to leapfrog 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 the 33-year-old’s 16 seasons at the Spanish club.

“We have won as early as possible, and that is everyone’s job to be celebrated”, Marcelo added, with the players looking towards the clash with Manchester City next week.

“Today we have to celebrate, but we have an important game ahead. If we do it right, there is nothing to worry about.”

Ancelotti believes the celebrations can 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, it can be good as another motivation facing such a difficult task against a great team,” Ancelotti said.

“The season has been spectacular. 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.”

Thousands of Real Madrid fans celebrate league title with team

About 150,000 jubilant Real Madrid fans flocked to the city’s central Cibeles fountain on Saturday to join the players for a celebration of their record-extending 35th La Liga title.

The supporters started gathering around the central landmark where the club usually celebrate their successes almost an hour before the end of Saturday’s game, which Real won easily with two first-half goals by Rodrygo spurring them on.

Traffic restrictions were put in place as early as Friday while a stage was built around the fountain where the players on an open-top bus traditionally join the fans coming from the Santiago Bernabeu to continue the party.

It is the first time Real supporters have had a chance to gather without wearing masks for a celebration after the Covid-19 pandemic as the club’s last league title triumph in 2020 was in the middle of lockdown.


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