MADRID: Carlo Ancelotti became the first manager to win league titles in Europe’s top five – England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France – as Real Madrid claimed a record-extending 35th LaLiga title by thrashing Espanyol 4-0 in the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
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 semi-final 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 overtake the late Francisco 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.”