Real Madrid win their 36th Liga title after Girona stun Barca

"Ancelotti’s side did their homework by beating Cadiz, and after last season’s champions stumbled against Girona, Los Blancos were crowned champions for a record-extending 36th time"


Real Madrid earned what coach Carlo Ancelotti said was a “deserved” La Liga title on Saturday after beating Cadiz 3-0, and Girona sealed it with a stunning 4-2 victory over Barcelona.

After last season’s champions faltered against Girona, Ancelotti’s team completed their homework by defeating Cadiz, and Los Blancos won the championship for a record-tying 36th time.

Girona’s dramatic victory saw the Catalan minnows qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history, in only their fourth season in Spain’s top flight.

Ancelotti rotated heavily ahead of the Champions League semi-final second-leg clash with Bayern, but his players still got the job done.

Brahim Diaz netted in the 51st minute to put Madrid ahead, and then Jude Bellingham set up, with Joselu tapping home a third.

“We’ve had a spectacular Liga campaign,” Ancelotti told reporters.

“We’ve made a few errors, and the advantage is deserved.”

Madrid’s comfortable win over Cadiz sent them 14 points clear of last season’s champions, Barcelona, in third, with only 12 left to play for.

Girona is second after their second 4-2 win over Barcelona this season, trailing Madrid by 13 points.

“We leave our skins out there on the pitch to live moments like today’s,” Madrid striker Joselu told Real Madrid TV.

“There are young players who are very hungry for titles, veterans who are delighted to be here… and these are special moments.”

With the Bayern second leg in mind, Ancelotti only selected captain Nacho Fernandez from the starting line-up that earned a 2-2 draw in Bavaria this week.

Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois started for the first time after a nine-month layoff after a knee injury and kept a clean sheet.

Madrid midfielder Luka Modric became the oldest player to appear for the club in La Liga, at 38 years and 238 days, breaking the late Hungarian great Ferenc Puskas’ record from 1965 by five days.

The visitors, who were 18th and still battling to stay up, shaded the first half, but Madrid’s goals came in the second.

Courtois made a superb save to deny Chris Ramos early in the second half, and Madrid took the lead immediately afterwards.

Diaz received the evergreen mulch on the edge of the area, turned slickly, and curled an effort into the top corner.

Bellingham, who came on as a substitute for Turkish teenager Arda Guler, added the second shortly after joining the fray at the end of a fine team move.

It was the England international’s 18th league goal of the season, keeping him in contention to finish as the top scorer.

Nacho’s outstanding run culminated in Madrid’s triumph.

The Bernabeu hailed the Spaniard, who was poised to leave at the end of the season, after he set up Joselu for a straightforward finish in stoppage time.

‘Impossible to compete’

Los Blancos were able to celebrate after Girona came from behind twice to defeat Barcelona in a wild clash.

The Catalans took the lead through Andreas Christensen after three minutes, but La Liga’s top scorer, Artem Dovbyk, levelled with his 20th goal of the campaign just a minute later.

Following Lamine Yamal’s foul, Robert Lewandowski put Barcelona ahead with a penalty, but Girona’s substitute Portu had a significant impact in the second half.

Michel Sanchez’s side netted two goals in two minutes to turn the game on its head. Portu scored the equalizer moments after coming on, and then set up Miguel Gutierrez to put Girona ahead.

Portu sensationally volleyed home the fourth to ignite Girona’s tiny Montilivi stadium and get the party started.

Girona played Champions League music over the stadium sound system to give their fans a taste of what was to come.

“It’s a shame; we sink in any negative situation,” said Barcelona coach Xavi after Barcelona lost their crown.

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