Saturday 24 February 2018

Real Madrid secure La Liga title

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho is thrown into the air by his players after their win over Athletic Bilbao. Photo: Reuters
Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho is thrown into the air by his players after their win over Athletic Bilbao. Photo: Reuters

Real Madrid claimed their 32nd La Liga crown with a comfortable 3-0 win at Athletic Bilbao last night -- ending Barcelona's stranglehold on the Spanish game with a first title success in four years.

Jose Mourinho's side recovered from Cristiano Ronaldo's horribly botched early penalty attempt -- his dink down the middle was easily saved -- as strikes from Gonzalo Higuain, Mesut Ozil and Ronaldo overwhelmed the hosts, who finished with 10 men after Javi Martinez's second yellow card.

Mourinho has now won league titles in four different countries.

Madrid's championship success overshadowed the exploits of Barca's Lionel Messi, who had earlier broken the 39-year record for most goals in a season in a major European league, scoring for the 68th time with a hat-trick to eclipse Bayern Munich legend Gerd Muller.

The Barca forward set the mark with his third goal in the 4-1 home victory over Malaga, surpassing the 67-goal mark Muller set during the 1972-73 season.

Messi (24) has also set a Champions League season record with 14 goals, including a record five against Bayer Leverkusen in March. Muller scored 36 Bundesliga goals in 1972-73, 12 each in the European Cup and the German League Cup, and seven in the German Cup.

Irish Independent

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