Madrid, May 3 - Real Madrid won the Spanish soccer league title for the 32nd time, their first time in four years. It was also coach Jose Mourinho's first here and seventh in four different countries.
Real sewed up the title with two matches to spare as Gonzalo HiguaÃn, Mesut Ozil and Ronaldo scored in their 3-0 victory over the Europa League finalists Athletic Bilbao to take the trophy back to their home Santiago Barnebeu.
Barcelona knew that they would not be able to win the league a fourth time in succession and their outgoing coach Pep Guardiola had conceded the title after Real Madrid's 2-1 victory more than a week ago.
All that the Catalans could do was to make the Madrid side to wait a little longer by scoring a 7-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano Sunday and by beating Malaga 4-0 Wednesday.
It was a matter of time once they took the field against Atletico. Ronaldo muffed a penalty but later scored his 44th goal of the league by nodding home an Alonso corner.
Madrid have lost only two games the whole season, against Barcelona and Levante. if they win their final two games, they will reach 100 points, overhauling Barcelona's record of 99, reports the Guardian.
Real have already overhauled the League record of 107 goals and they now have 115, Ronaldo scoring 44 of these. The Portuguese is a shade behind Lionel Messi in the race for the Golden Boot, the Argentinean's hat-trick against Malaga taking his tally to 46. Messi's 68 in all competitions, left behind German Gerd Miller's European record set in 1972-73.
As for Mourinho, this is another landmark. He has now won the league title in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. He is not the first coach to do so as is often believed. Ernst Happel and the current Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni also won the title in four different countries - Happel in Holland, Belgium, Germany and Austria and Trapattoni in Italy, Germany, Portugal and Austria. The Croatian coach Tomislav Ivic won the Yugoslav, Dutch, Belgian, Greek, Portuguese and French league titles.
Real's players went into rapturous celebration after the final whistle, though they will officially celebrate in Madrid Thursday.
Mourinho showed seven fingers, signifying the number of league titles he has won. It includes FC Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.
"This was the most difficult one," said Mourinho, whose team has a seven-point lead over Barcelona with two rounds left.
"The players are all very happy after 10 months of fighting, of training, of games, the objective was to be champion so we are happy to have achieved it," Cristiano Ronaldo said.
"To have beaten a team like Barca makes this league win more difficult. It's much better to win against one of the best teams -it makes it better."
"I have two Golden Boots at home. So if I win the third, great. If not, not a problem," said Ronaldo.
"It's been a long hard season but we've finally done it and I just hope it's the first of many with this young squad, we dedicate it to the fans," said captain Iker Casillas.
"We're very happy," said Sergio Ramos, who last Wednesday had experienced vastly different emotions when he missed a penalty in the Champions League semifinal shootout defeat against Bayern Munich.
"It's been a tough league and Barca were an extraordinary rival, we'll enjoy it now and celebrate it with our fans."
Mourinho again refused to face the Spanish press after the game but spoke to Real Madrid TV.
"It's been a great title for us, no-one has given us anything all season, we've fought from start to finish, the players have been fantastic and deserve it," said the 49-year-old.
"I've won titles before in Portugal, Italy and England but this has been the most difficult of all. I think even Barca, after they've won three titles in a row, know that we deserve this one," he added.
"Barcelona tried," said Guardiola, who is stepping down at the end of the season. "There wasn't much difference. The league is very long and the team that deserves to win, wins. And Real were the deserved winners." (IANS)