Real Madrid Clinch “Toughest” Title
Real Madrid sealed their first Primera Division title since 2008 last night with a thumping 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao at San Mamés, despite missing an early Cristiano Ronaldo penalty.
Having seen Barcelona record a comfortable 4-1 victory over Malaga – in which Lionel Messi scored his ninth hat-trick of the season – earlier in the evening, Madrid got off to a rocky start when Ronaldo’s dinked effort from 12-yards was comfortably saved by Bilbao ‘keeper Gorka Iraizoz.
However, the league leaders were ahead just four minutes later when Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring with a superb 18-yard effort that arrowed into the top corner and Ronaldo made amends for his earlier miss by teeing up Mesut Ozil with a brilliant cross which the German duly converted.
The Portuguese’s redemption was completed just after half-time as he himself got on the end of Ozil’s corner to powerfully head home his 44th goal of the campaign to end any hopes of a comeback for the home side – who also had inspirational defender Javi Martinez sent off in the 72nd minute.
Naturally the final whistle sparked scenes of jubilation among the Madrid players and their visiting support, with a typically cool Jose Mourinho later admitting to RealMadridTV that this has been the toughest of his four title-winning campaigns in Europe.
“I won the league title in Portugal, Italy and England, but this one has been the toughest,” said the 49-year-old Madrid manager. “I’ve won seven league titles overall and I know what it feels like. Barcelona won all their games, as befits the great team that they are. They’ve been winning to the very last day and are a great club with great tradition – but they know we deserved to win the title.”