REAL MADRID WIN SPANISH LA LIGA TITLE

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after his side are crowned champions following the La Liga match between Malaga and Real Madrid at La Rosaleda Stadium 

REAL MADRID WIN SPANISH LA LIGA TITLE

Titan Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid edged out Barcelona to win 2018-17 Primera League title for the first time since 2012 to the delight of their worldwide supporters. Madrid won the Spanish league for the first time in five years on Sunday and stopped rival Spanish giant club Barcelona from their third Primera Division championship in a row. Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane's side secured its 33rd league title with a 2-0 win at Malaga with goals by superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

"To win the title in the last round feels that much better," Cristiano Ronaldo said. "We deserved it."

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema celebrates the third goal against RC Celta during the La Liga match, between Celta Vigo and Real Madrid at Estadio Balaidos in Vigo, Spain.

The last-round win put Real Madrid three points ahead of second-placed Barca, who rallied from being two goals behind to beat Eibar 4-2 at the Camp Nou. Madrid entered the final weekend needing only a draw to clinch its first title since 2012 and avoid its worst title drought since the 1980s.

Ronaldo opened the scoring for Madrid early at Malaga, going past the goalkeeper before finding the open net, after a pass by Isco two minutes into the match at the Rosaleda Stadium. The crucial goal was Ronaldo's 14th in his last nine matches in all competitions.

While Barcelona was struggling in their clash with Eibar, Karim Benzema sealed the victory and the league title in the 55th minute from a rebound of a close-range shot by Sergio Ramos, giving Real Madrid its second league title in the last nine years.

It was the first league title for Real boss Zidane, the former France star who took over Madrid for his first head-coaching job less than 1 ½ years ago.

"It is very important to lift this trophy again after so many years without being able to win La Liga," said Zidane, who celebrated with his side after the final whistle. "I've won everything with this club, but this title is special. This is the happiest day in my professional career."

Victorious Madrid footballers wore shirts with the No. 33, referring to their 33rd title, as they celebrated on the pitch before heading back to Madrid to meet their fans. Madrid has already won the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup this season.

Real Madrid will next pursue its 3rd UEFA Champions League title in 4 seasons in their final against Juventus in Cardiff on June 3. It would be Madrid's first double in the European competition and in La Liga in nearly sixty years.

At the Camp Nou, Japanese midfielder Takashi Inui scored twice for Eibar - in the 7th and 61st minutes. Barca came back with an own-goal by Eibar defender David Junca in the 63rd. Top goalscorer Luis Suarez equalized in the 73rd after Lionel Messi had missed a penalty kick a few minutes earlier. Lionel Messi who is the La Liga’s top goalscorer this season with 37 goals, converted another penalty in the 75th and closed the match scoring in injury time. Eibar played with only 10 men from the 74th after defender Ander Capa was sent off. It was Barcelona's last game at the Camp Nou under the leadership of manager Luis Enrique, who will leave Barca at the end of this season.

"I can't complain about our team," Luis Enrique said. "We fought until the final minute and we never gave up. We have to congratulate the champions."

"I can't complain about our team," Luis Enrique said. "We fought until the final minute and we never gave up. We have to congratulate the champions."

Atletico Madrid has played their last season at the Vicente Calderon after winning 19 titles during the 51 seasons the Vicente Calderon stadium was their home ground.  Atletico Madrid earned a 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao in a sentimental final game at the Vicente Calderon Stadium, which will be demolished tat the end of the season. Fernando Torres scored two important goals early in the first half and Angel Correa added the third in the second half as the hosts said goodbye to the stadium where it has played for the last 50 years. Next season Atletico will move into the Wanda Metropolitano, a modern 68,000-capacity stadium on the outskirts of the Spanish capital.

"It's hard to express our feelings after a day like today," Torres said. "We have a lot of memories here - a lot of things went through your mind. It's been 50 years of a lot of happiness in this venue. It was an honor to be part of it."

The nearly 55,000 fans who packed the Calderon stayed at the stadium long after the final whistle on Sunday as the team organized a series of tributes for the occasion. The Copa del Rey final last Saturday and an exhibition match involving former players officially closed the old venue

Barcelona won the Copa del Rey final 3-1 against Alaves last Saturday. Athletic Bilbao ended in 7th place after they lost to Atletico, ending up without one of the two spots for the Europa League next campaign. Villarreal secured 5th place with a 3-1 victory at Valencia, and Real Sociedad ended up in 6th after scoring late in a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo. Villarreal finished with 67 points, 3 more than Real Sociedad and 4 more than Athletic Madrid, who will still qualify for Europe's second-tier tournament after Barcelona beat Alaves in the Copa del Rey final. Third-placed Atletico had already qualified for the Champions League, along with fourth-placed Sevilla, which will have to go through a playoff to get into the competition's group stage.

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#

Team

MP

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

 

1

 

Real Madrid

38

29

6

3

106

41

65

93

 
 

2

 

Barcelona

38

28

6

4

116

37

79

90

 
 

3

 

Atlético Madrid

38

23

9

6

70

27

43

78

 
 

4

 

Sevilla

38

21

9

8

69

49

20

72

 
 

5

 

Villarreal

38

19

10

9

56

33

23

67

 

2017 Champions League Final

(Note: Real Madrid won 2016-17 UEFA Champions League Final - Juventus 1-4 Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Los Blancos won historic Champions League title and trophy in a row.}

Real Madrid will compete v Juve in Champions League Final on Saturday, June 3.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning penalty against Atletico Madrid last season in the 2016 Champions League Final.

“We're ready and we’ll have to work hard and try to give everything, as always”, said Real Madrid coach Zidane.

Zidane was speaking about the upcoming 2017 Champions League final. The Real Madrid coach highlighted that the game "will be special" because he formerly played for Italian Serie A giant club Juventus.

"Juventus are having a great season, but I’ll not talk about their strengths or their weaknesses. We know they are a great team and they’ve shown it. It will be a wonderful final between two teams that deserve to be there".

Champions League Final 2017 Juventus v Real Madrid Tickets Millenium Stadium - Cardiff, United Kingdom

Zinedine Zidane, Manager of Real Madrid celebrates with Cristiano Ronaldo after being crowned Spanish La Liga champions 

Zidane was interviewed about the upcoming clash with Juve and commented on the fact that no club has ever won the Champions League tournament and been named “King of Europe” for two years in a row. The boss was asked if winning two in a row to set an all-time record Is it an extra source of motivation?

“No, the motivation simply comes from the fact that we are playing another Champions League final. Something wonderful independently for us. It will be a tough final and we’ll have to work hard and try to find that extra energy to have a good performance. I think we'll be ready.

Zidane commented on the final against Atletico in Milan.

“Each final is different. It’s another final against a different team, in a different stadium and a different atmosphere. We know that we’ll have 90 minutes, maybe more, to try to win and that’s what we’ll try to do: give everything, as always. We’ll not change our way of doing things and we’ll see what happens,” continued Zidane.I’m happy to be the Real Madrid coach and to have had this opportunity. It's not an easy job but it's a passion for me. I’ve worked hard. I spent three or four years in preparing to become a coach. What we have achieved is due to the fact that we have wonderful players.”

Zidane was asked if he thought being holding champions made the Champions League tournament more difficult for Real Madrid this season.

“Yes, but it always is. When other teams play against Real Madrid it may be their biggest game of the year, added Zidane. “We know that and we’re used to it. We know what it means to be part of this club and maybe that makes it more difficult to get to finals.”

Former Juve star Zidane was asked about his former club Juventus’ strengths.

“They’re having a great season. I’ll not talk about their strengths or weaknesses. We know they are a great team and they have proven it. It’ll be a wonderful final, between two teams that deserve to be there.”

It’ll be special for me. I was at Juventus for five years, a great club that helped me to develop and become a man, to grow as a person and as a player,” added Zidane. “Juventus will always have a special place in my heart but as soon as I start, I will be on the other side, with Real Madrid, and I’ll only be thinking about my team.”

Next, Zidane was asked about superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo and if CR7’s evolution involved joint decisions.

“Yes, of course, it's a decision we made together, based on conversations we've had,” replied Zidane. “We are intelligent and sometimes he needs to play a little less. It’s not because he’s not physically fit, but because he wants to reach the final phase of the season, when everything is at stake, in his best form. He’s played a lot this year, but there have been times when he’s been left out to have a break. Now he's in fantastic shape.”

"We're the two best teams in Europe and it'll be a nice match," added the Whites' coach Zinedine Zidane. "We’re very happy to be in the final. We know how difficult it is to get there and we’ve worked very well during the year. We deserve to be in the final and the team is going into it in very good physical shape and we’re confident. There are four days left and we’re focused on what we have to do. There is no difference between the final in Milan and this one. The most important thing is to get to the final. There are no favorites in finals. Juventus are a great team and what we all want is to see a good match".

"Not much will change if they play with two or three center backs. They’re a solid team and they know how to play both ways. What interests me is trying to cause them problems. We’ll see on Saturday. Juventus have got a lot of good players, but in offensive terms, Dybala is one of the best. Higuaín and Alves are also good. The same goes for Real Madrid. They’re all good".
 
"I played at Juventus for five years and I’ve got good memories of that time. It's a special final. Each team will play their own final and the important thing is to see a nice match. I don’t think there are two different approaches. You have to play the final and I don’t think there are differences between the two teams. That's why we're both in the final".
 
"It's a final and it could last 90 minutes or more. They don’t concede many and we score a lot but that won’t influence what is going to happen. We’ll prepare in the best way possible because it’s the two best teams playing the final. When you reach the final you deserve it because of the work during the whole season. They also did very well and are also league champions. It's going to be a very nice match".
 
"The pressure is more noticeable. That says a lot about this game but everyone likes to play in finals. Everyone likes them. We are in another Champions League final and it’s very nice. We're going to prepare well for it".
 
"It’s the last game of the season and as it’s the last one, it’s the most important one, but we’ll prepare it like the rest of the games because we’ll not change anything that we do and more so now".
 
"We know commitment, we do everything possible to win. It was the best club of the last century and now has 115 years of history. You can play well or badly, but the important thing is to fight until the last minute. This club has taught me that and the captain represents these values very well. He is also a very noble person and that is worth even more".

"We always believe and thanks to the work of the whole team we are in the final. We’re very close to doing it and we’re the first to be so close to doing it for so many years. It’s been thanks to the work throughout the whole year. When you work hard at the end you get the rewards like this, but we have not won anything yet".

Zidane was asked about Gareth Bale.
 
"We’re happy that he is with us because he is an important player. I'm glad to see he’s recovered. We’re going to prepare for the match together, as always, and we’re all prepared. Gareth doesn’t have to say anything to me. He’s ready, with us, and really excited. Playing at home and that’s that. The players are motivated and I'm only interested about that. We’ve time to prepare for the game. Today we’re going to do basic things because the press are here, but starting tomorrow we will prepare for the game".
 
Will Zidane chose Bale or Isco?

"The decision is difficult because everyone is available and I will have to choose between the entire squad. It’s normal to have the debate because they are two very good and important players. What the press says will not influence me. We know what we’re going to do and the important thing is to be prepared and focused. Both are very good players and they’ve also played together this year in 16 games. They can play together and the important thing is that they come into this final stretch of the season in very good shape. Bale has had fewer minutes but is already recovered from his injury and we already know the player Isco is. The most important thing is to see the players on top form".

What about Isco?

"He deserves it just like the rest. There are players who are not going to be called up and that is what bothers me the most because they are all important. I have to think about the line-up and the bench because there are players who have had an extraordinary year and are going to miss out on the squad. That's the hardest thing for me".
 
"The most important thing is to always give 100%. That’s how we have done things during the season, giving everything, with a lot of professionalism and we can be happy for what we have done until now. We have another final and we’ll try to do everything we can to win the match".
 
Zidane was then asked about his future with Real Madrid.

"I have one more year on my contract but that doesn’t mean anything. I want to be at this club but it depends on what you do on the field. I think the club is happy with what we’re doing and I’m only interested in that. The future: Saturday and nothing else. I have the Real Madrid DNA, that's for sure. It’s my home. Everyone has always been very affectionate towards me and I have always defended the values of this club. I’ve experienced spectacular things with this club as a player, assistant coach and head coach. I’ll always be a Real Madrid fan because the club is my life".
 
"It's just a philosophy and a thing I wanted to do with this team and this squad. With another team, I might have done something else. I did what I wanted to do with these players and I'm happy, but you know how football is changing. I am positive and always try to give everything and lead the team. What the players are doing is phenomenal. I’m enjoying this moment because I know that one day it’ll end. I’m on top of my job and we’re close to doing something extraordinary, but I’m not thinking about of leaving an important mark in the history of the club. We work hard and that's the spirit of this team".
 
"After we won the league it was something spectacular. I'm still feeling it and I'm very happy".

Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo talked about the massive match coming up on Saturday.

“We know it's going to be a difficult game but we're Real Madrid and we've got every chance of winning it”, said CR7. We want to go down in history, and if we win, we'll be the first team ever to lift the title in two consecutive seasons under the new Champions League format. It's our ambition and our dream. Let's cross our fingers”.

It's always special to play in the Champions League final. We're up against a great team. We know it's going to be a difficult game but we're Real Madrid and we've got every chance of winning it. I think it's 50-50 but of course, I hope we can win it because it'd be an extraordinary achievement. Winning the Champions League is extremely difficult. In the Group Stages, we went through second, behind Dortmund, but I think we did a good job. Then we went on to knock out great teams like Atlético and Bayern and that's why we deserve to be in the final. Ever since I've been at Real Madrid, we've always shown we can up our level in the knock-out rounds and that shows what a great team we are.”

Ronaldo was asked if he is especially motivated by the chance to be the first team in football history to win two consecutive Champions League trophies.

“That's something that every player at Real Madrid wants to achieve. We want to go down in history, and if we win, we'll be the first team ever to lift the trophy in two consecutive seasons under the new Champions League format. It's our ambition and our dream. Let's cross our fingers.”

What about Juve and their stars Bonucci and Barzagli?

“They're an excellent team. They haven't made it to the final by accident. They've won the Italian league and the cup. They're tough opposition and we know it's going to be a difficult game. They like to mark their opponents closely, like Atlético de Madrid. They may well have a fantastic back line, but no matter how good their defenders are, there's always a weak point to be found in any defense. So, we'll have to discover those weak points, capitalise on the space that Juventus give us in the game, and make the most of it in order to score goals.

How will this final differ from the previous two against Atlético?

“It will be very similar. They're finals and it's always 50-50. Both teams will be looking to capitalize on the other's mistakes. The winning side will most probably be the one who makes the fewest errors; I hope that is Real Madrid. It'll be a thrilling clash, the whole world loves watching it and the players enjoy it out on the pitch. Expectations are high and the team is confident,” continued Ronaldo.My position will always be the same. My favorite place to play is in a free role along the forward line and that's the opportunity Zidane has given me. I play very freely. On one side, down the centre... I play where I think best. As for the number of games, that's something we discussed at the start of the season and I knew it was necessary. In the last two years I've been tired going into the final stretch of LaLiga and the Champions League. So this year I rested a couple of games and I feel much better at this stage than I have in previous years.”

This year at Real Madrid, there have been 20 - 21 lads playing on a regular basis. Do you think that's been crucial in taking the team so far?

“Yes, I think so. Zidane has managed the squad very intelligently. It's not easy. It's not a straightforward situation because every player wants to play all the time. Zidane has been very smart with how he's worked it and he's been able to use every single player. That's been crucial in reaching the final and winning La Liga. I think that's why we've had such a great season.”

Ronaldo talked about his record of 100 goals in the Champions League.

“Yes, it was a milestone I wanted to reach. I was close to doing so but I went a couple of games without scoring, which made it a bit more difficult. I always believed I would be the first player in history to score 100 goals and I managed it. It was an aim I had set myself at the beginning of the season, and thanks to God, I was able to achieve it. I'd like to thank my teammates, the coach, and the Real Madrid fans. It was a special moment in my career. I'm extremely happy.”

Are you aware that you are making football history?

“Yes, I'm aware that what I've achieved in football will continue to set a standard. It's not an accident that I've beaten so many records. It's not an obsession for me, but it's true that I like setting them. I'm happy and motivated. It motivates me to train and play better. I'm always ambitious to keep improving and be at the best possible level”.

What do you think of Zidane.

“He's done an extraordinary job. He was with us from the start this season and he's showing what a fantastic manager he's becoming. I'm thrilled with the job he's doing. I always admired him as a player and now even more so as a coach because he's an extremely positive, hard-working person, and has a lot of respect for the players. So I have no doubt at all that the success of this team is down to Zidane and the excellent job he's doing. All the players are very happy with him.”

Real Madrid will compete in the International Cup this summer in the United States against three opponents during the pre-season tournament. In addition to facing the Azulgranas, the Whites will battle Manchester United and Manchester City in the not-to-be-missed tournament.

Real Madrid will get their tournament campaign up and running against Manchester United at Santa Clara's Levi’s Stadium (California) on Sunday 23 July at 2pm local time (11pm CET). Following on from their opener, the Whites will compete with Manchester City at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum stadium on Wednesday 26th July (8pm local time, 5am CET on the 27th). Next Real Madrid and Barcelona will meet on Saturday 29th July (7:30pm local time, 1:30am CET on the 30th) at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium.

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Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo share a laugh during training for the Champions League Final.

Cristiano Ronaldo (L) of Real Madrid CF celebrates with teammates at Cibeles square after winning the La liga title on May 21, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. Real earlier beat Malaga 2-0 in Malaga to clinch the Spanish La Liga title.