After guiding Real Madrid CF to a 32nd Liga title, coach José Mourinho said there would be little time to celebrate.
FC Barcelona, Madrid's fierce rivals and league winners for the past three campaigns, did their best to delay the inevitable with a 4-1 home win against Málaga CF. However, Madrid subsequently took to the pitch at Athletic Club where goals from Gonzalo Higuaín, Mesut Özil and Cristiano Ronaldo earned the Merengues a 3-0 win and with it, a first Liga success since 2008 to end Barcelona's period of dominance.
"I would like to congratulate everyone, especially all of our families who are the ones who really suffer," said Mourinho. "They have to live with us every day and they see the emotions of a long season. This is truly a title to celebrate. Personally, though, I had my two minutes on the pitch with the players afterwards and as from [today] the work continues because I feel next season will be just as hard."
Last season's Copa del Rey winners, Madrid claimed Spanish football's biggest prize with two games to spare and have already eclipsed the 1989/90 record of 107 goals in a single Liga campaign. Despite the impressive statistics, Mourinho insists he preferred to look at the bigger picture.
"The records and statistics – individual and otherwise – are only small details when you take into account the big prize of a Liga title which is gained by a great collective effort," he said. "Because of that, this team deserves even more emotion and affection [from the fans] and I hope the supporters will show just that at the Santiago Bernabéu in our [final home] game against Mallorca on 13 May."
The Portuguese had previously won championships while in charge of FC Porto, Chelsea FC and FC Internazionale Milano yet conceded his first at Madrid was the most difficult to attain. "It was a hard thing winning in Portugal, Italy and England but this was the hardest of all," he said. "
This is my seventh league triumph so I know what emotions are involved. As the great professionals that they are, Barcelona pushed us until the end."
The team's top scorer with 44 goals so far this season, Cristiano Ronaldo said he was "delighted" with his "first league win here in Spain". The 27-year-old is still involved in a seesaw battle with Barça's Lionel Messi (on 46) for the Pichichi, or top scorer trophy, but insists the possibility of settling for second best on that front would not take the shine off his latest achievement.
"I already have golden shoes at home; if I win another that would be great but if not, no matter," Ronaldo added, as he and his team-mates looked forward to the traditional Cibeles Fountain celebrations which will take place tonight. "
Our objective for this season has been completed and after ten months fighting together that brings enormous happiness."
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