BILBAO: Real Madrid secured the Spanish league title for the first time in four years when they cruised to a comfortably 3-0 win away to a Bilbao side who appeared to be distracted by thoughts of next week’s Europa League Final.
Goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo made history for coach Jose Mourinho who has now won league titles in four countries: Portugal (with Porto), England (Chelsea), Italy (Internazionale) and now Spain.
Ronaldo, who missed yet another penalty in the opening exchanges, now has 44 league goals but has slipped to second place in the Liga and ESM Golden Shoe rankings because, earlier in the evening, Leo Messi scored a hat-trick in outgoing champions Barcelpna 4-1 home win over Malaga.
Carles Puyol fired Pep Guardiola’s side in front at the Nou Camp, only for that lead to be cancelled out by Jose Salomon Rondon. But Messi scored twice from the penalty spot before wrapping up his treble with a low drive to take his tally to 68 goals for the campaign, passing the previous European best mark of 67 set by Gerd Muller in 1972-73.
In Holland Ajax retained the title after beating VVV-Venlo 2-0. The Amsterdam club came into the match with a six-point advantage over Feyenoord and needing just a point to wrap up the championship ahead of the final round of fixtures this weekend. Two goals from Siem de Jong saw Ajax home while Feyenoord’s consolation was a 4-1 demolition of Heracles Almelo.
In Italy unbeaten leaders Juventus were surprisingly held 1-1 at home by the 10 men of Lecce for whom substitute Andrea Bertolacci struck a dramatic late equaliser. Champions Milan moved to within one point of Juve with two rounds of matches remaining a 2-0 home win over Atalanta.
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