Real Madrid clinch record 34th LaLiga title with win vs Villarreal as perfect restart sees them beat rivals Barcelona



Posted Friday, July 17, 2020 by Thesun.co.uk

REAL MADRID have won a record 34th LaLiga title after their 2-1 triumph over Villarreal.

Zinedine Zidane's side claimed their first Spanish title since the 2016/17 season thanks to a Karim Benzema double.

Real Madrid clinch record 34th LaLiga title with win vs Villarreal as perfect restart sees them beat rivals Barcelona
The veteran has clearly not lost his appetite for success Credit: AFP OR LICENSORS

Real, who overtook Barcelona after winning a perfect 10 games from 10 since the coronavirus restart, now have eight more league titles than their Catalan rivals.

Lionel Messi and Co led by two points before the global pandemic forced sport around the world to shut down.

But a dire 11-day run last month which included draws against Sevilla, Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid opened the door to their fierce rivals.

Villarreal threatened to spoil Real's party with a Vicente Iborra strike.

But Barca lost to 2-1 10-man Osasuna - meaning a draw would have been enough for their old foes to clinch the title.

Real grabbed their opportunity by the throat with a new version of their famous La Decima.

What's even more remarkable is that Los Blancos have done most of the hard work without Gareth Bale.

Real Madrid clinch record 34th LaLiga title with win vs Villarreal as perfect restart sees them beat rivals Barcelona
Eden Hazard shares a laugh with boss Zinedine Zidane Credit: Reuters

Real Madrid clinch record 34th LaLiga title with win vs Villarreal as perfect restart sees them beat rivals Barcelona
The French boss has a brilliant record in the dugout Credit: AFP or licensors

Zidane insists his relationship with the Welshman is fine but how can it be given his antics off the pitch?

Dimitar Berbatov accused Bale of being "unprofessional" by pretending to be asleep in the stands and mucking round with some makeshift binoculars.

Before tonight's win over Villarreal, Bale, 31, had not played a single minute of Real's last five games.

But while Zidane and the Bernabeu hierarchy have a right to feel aggrieved with his antics off the pitch, Nou Camp chiefs must now be stressing about their players' ability on it.

Antoine Griezmann, the £108million summer signing from Atletico Madrid, has been a shadow of his former self.

Injury curtailed the end of his season but nine goals in 35 league showings heading into tonight is a lacklustre return by anyone's standards.

His strike partner Luis Suarez, who will have watched old club Liverpool win the Premier League from afar, said the players have no one to blame but themselves.

He said recently: "In LaLiga, you have to be self-critical. We let it escape ourselves.

"We are aware that we depended on ourselves and won't look for any excuse.

"We have to focus squarely on the only title we can fight for, which is the Champions League."

Barca could look to replace 33-year-old Suarez - who needed knee surgery in January - with Lautaro Martinez as part of a squad overhaul.

New signings could be incoming at Real too, but chiefs should first take stock of the brilliant job Zidane has done.

The France legend, 48, left his post in 2018 after becoming the first manager ever to win three straight Champions League titles.

Rumours of his return did not take long to build and in March last year he was back to replace Santiago Solari.

Real finished that season an unimaginable 19 points behind victors Barcelona.

Zinedine Zidane won 3 back to back to back champions league titles and La liga for Real Madrid and people called it luck. He left and they struggled without him. He returned and has won Spanish super cup and La liga for them in his first full season.

That could not last - and it didn't.

Zidane returned with the same vigour he had instilled before, boosted by the arrival of Eden Hazard.

But the £130m ex-Chelsea man did not so much hit the ground running as hit the deck injured.

One goal in 15 appearances plus six assists before tonight was all the Belgian, unplayable on his day, could muster.

Instead it was the old guard who mucked in and did the dirty work.

Karim Benzema had played more minutes than anyone else before tonight, his 19 goals this season second only to Messi's 22.

Sergio Ramos did what he does - defend ruthlessly and score headers - while Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro deserve plaudits for their consistency in the middle of the park.

Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo show there is reason to be excited for the future.

This win does not come without controversy though, with Barca among those accusing VAR of favouritism towards Real.

Gerard Pique mocked the video offical after Messi's disallowed goal against Villarreal earlier this month.

It came after Real were given a controversial penalty by VAR over Athletic Bilbao to steer them four points clear of Barca in the league.



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