MADRID: ReaL Madrid finally secured the Spanish league title for the first time in five years after winning 2-0 at Malaga to finish three points clear of deposed champions Barcelona.
Goals from the inevitable Cristiano Ronaldo (in the second minute) and Karim Benzema (in the 55th) set up Madrid perfectly for their pursuit of a record-extanding 12th European Champions League Cup against Juventus in Cardiff on June 3.
Their record-stretching 33rd Spanish crown was a further triunph for novice coach Zinedine Zidane who stepped up in the middle of last season and won the Champions League in his first term.
Zidane said: “For me the Spanish league is the best in the world so it’s an incredible feeling to win it.
“It was very important to win the league after many years without it and we know that the league is the competition of every day and it’s a huge thing to win it. It’s even more important for Real Madrid because it’s the biggest club in the world and we had to win it again.
“It’s a spectacular day, everyone deserves credit but above all the players have fought, the message has always been that every player is important and that’s been the key to this success.
“It’s been a very hard fought win, difficult at some moments but after 38 games there’s no better feeling than being at the top.”
Zidane, who has won four trophies in 16 months since taking charge of the Spanish giants, added: “Now I can finally celebrate after months and months of work. There are no words to define how I feel now,”
Barcelona defeated Eibar 4-2 after trailing 1-0 and then 2-1 with two goals from Leo Messi, who also missed a penalty, an own goal from David Junca and another from Luis Suarez.
Atletico Madrid finished third after defeating Athletic Bilbao, their original parent club, by 3-1 in the Colchoneros’ last competitive match at the Estadio Vicente Calderon ahead of their move across the city.
Sevilla ended up fourth after Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing of already-relegated Osasuna in what was probably coach Jorge Sampaoli’s final game in charge.
The 57-year-old Argentinian is poised to take over his home national team.
Vitolo and Franco Vazquez each scored a brace while ex-Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic was also on target for a Sevilla side that were guaranteed a fourth-placed finish regardless of the result, and went beyond Sampaoli’s target of 70 points with the win.
On Friday night, Granada slumped to a seventh straight defeat under manager Tony Adams, losing 2-1 at home to Espanyol in their final match of the season.
Former Arsenal and England skipper Adams was appointed head coach until the end of the season on April 10 following the sacking of Lucas Alcaraz, but Granada, already relegated, finished bottom of the table.
In Italy . . .
In ITALY Juventus defeated Crotone to win Serie A for the sixth successive season, leaving Roma trailing despite their own thrilling 5-3 win at Chievo on Saturday.
In GERMANY Hamburg beat Wolfsburg 2-1 in dramatic fashion to secure their Bundesliga status and plunge the Wolves into a relegation play-off.
Wolfsburg, who lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals last year, must tackle a team from Germany’s second tier to determine their fate.
They face a two-legged play-off against the third-placed side in Bundesliga 2 – who were Eintracht Braunschweig ahead of Sunday’s final round of fixtures.