Saturday, June 25

Real Madrid 4-0 Espanyol: Rodrygo brace helps Los Blancos seal title with four games to spare

Real Madrid 4-0 Espanyol: Rodrygo’s first-half brace helps Los Blancos seal the Spanish title with four games to spare as Carlo Ancelotti and Co cruise over the line ahead of next week’s Champions League showdown with Man City

  • Real Madrid claimed the Spanish title by picking up a 4-0 win over Espanyol
  • Carlo Ancelotti’s men only needed a point to become champions on Saturday
  • But Rodrygo’s first-half brace ensured they would pick up three at the Bernabeu
  • Marco Asensio then added a third for the hosts 10 minutes into the second half
  • And Karim Benzema capped the title party by converting their fourth late on 

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Real Madrid won their 35th Spanish title with a 4-0 win at home to Espanyol, making Carlo Ancelotti the first coach ever to win five major European leagues.

It was the first time Madrid had won the league in front of their own fans since 2007 with more recent victories coming away or in empty stadiums because of Covid.

‘When the top tennis players get matchpoint they don’t fail,’ Ancelotti had said before the game and Madrid did not slip up despite fielding a team full of reserves ahead of Wednesday’s semi final second leg against Manchester City.

In keeping with Ancelotti’s pre-match tennis reference Rafa Nadal took the ceremonial kick-off in what was a party atmosphere inside the stadium. This was their day to salute the players who had put them back on top in Spain after Atletico Madrid won the title last season. They also remembered old favourites with Cristiano Ronaldo’s name chanted in the seventh minute.

Ancelotti had predictably left out Karim Benzema and Vinicius from his starting line-up. Toni Kroos, Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal were also rested but the incombustible Luca Modric did start with Casemiro filling in at centre-back because Nacho and Eder Militao were both suspended and David Alaba is still struggling with an abductor injury that may keep him out of the second leg.

Madrid had their first chance when Mariano headed on to the post after 13 minutes. It was Rodrygo who got them in front with a low shot past Diego Lopez on 33 minutes from Marcelo’s pass. He doubled the advantage before the break with a fine individual effort. Mariano Diaz robbed Yangel Herrera and Rodrygo took over to score his fourth goal in the last five games.

Espanyol are one of only three teams, along with Getafe and Barcelona, who have beaten Real Madrid this season but they never looked like spoiling the party.

Rodrygo fired home a brace in the first half to ensure Los Blancos would cruise over the line

Rodrygo fired home a brace in the first half to ensure Los Blancos would cruise over the line

Rodrygo fired home a brace in the first half to ensure Los Blancos would cruise over the line

They only needed a point against Espanyol to secure the title with four games still to play

They only needed a point against Espanyol to secure the title with four games still to play

They only needed a point against Espanyol to secure the title with four games still to play

Marco Asensio made it 3-0 on 55 minutes when Eduardo Camavinga put him through brilliantly. With an hour left, and the game and the league won, Ancelotti took off Modric to huge applause. Mariano and Casemiro went off too with the versatile Camavinga filling in at centre-back. Benzema and Toni Kroos came on for a gentle run-out. Ancelotti clearly wanted Vinicius on the pitch when the final whistle was blown on a successful campaign too and he began to warm-up.

Isco had also come on and it looked as if he had started and finished the fourth goal but Rodrygo was offside when the midfielder blasted Benzema’s assist past Lopez so VAR ruled out the goal.

With 10 minutes left and with Vinicius now on alongside Benzema the two linked up so that Benzema could scored his 42nd goal in 42 games. The Brazilian crossed from the left and Real Madrid’s top scorer buried it.

Ancelotti even got a touch on the ball during the game when it ran into his technical area. That was greeted by a huge cheer. It was his day as much as anyone’s.

He won the Scudetto with AC Milan in 2003-04. He won the league at the first time of asking with Chelsea in 2009-10. In 2012-13 he won Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain, and in 2016-17 he became a Bundesliga champion at Bayern Munich.

Karim Benzema also got in on the act late on to cap a comfortable title triumph for Los Blancos

Karim Benzema also got in on the act late on to cap a comfortable title triumph for Los Blancos

Karim Benzema also got in on the act late on to cap a comfortable title triumph for Los Blancos

Carlo Ancelotti is now the first coach ever to have win all five major European league titles

Carlo Ancelotti is now the first coach ever to have win all five major European league titles

Carlo Ancelotti is now the first coach ever to have win all five major European league titles

This isn’t just a special league for the Italian though, for Marcelo is was trophy number 24 for the club taking him last Gento as Real Madrid’s all-time most decorated player. Fittingly he wore the captain’s armband for the game.

It was also trophy number 21 for Benzema. He will be needed from the start on Wednesday as the champions of Spain take on Manchester City.

For now it’s celebration time in the Spanish capital. A wild night in Madrid will now ensue. The Cibeles fountain in the city had been prepared for the traditional congregating of fans since Thursday. Supporters celebrated inside the stadium on the final whistle and then headed for title party. There will be hangovers on Sunday and then the biggest game of the season – Manchester City and a 4-3 scoreline to turnaround.


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