Spanish La Liga
Real MadridReal Madrid2VillarrealVillarreal1

Real Madrid 2-1 Villarreal: Real win first La Liga title in three years

By Alex BysouthBBC Sport
Zinedine Zidane
This is Zidane's second La Liga title as Real Madrid boss

Zinedine Zidane says sealing a first La Liga title with Real Madrid in three years has made him happier than winning the Champions League.

Real wrapped up the title with a game to spare as they edged past Villarreal at an empty Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.

Karim Benzema fired between the legs of Sergio Asenjo and added a controversial second from a retaken penalty.

In bizarre fashion, Sergio Ramos had rolled the first attempt for Benzema to smash in but the effort was disallowed.

Vicente Iborra pulled one back but it mattered little to Real as the club wrapped up their 34th Spanish title.

Zidane's side have won all 10 of their matches since Spanish football restarted in June.

They head into the final day of the season with an unassailable seven-point lead over second-placed Barcelona.

"This is better than anything. It takes a tremendous effort to win La Liga," said the Real Madrid boss.

"After 38 matches, you have more points than anyone else. After lockdown and everything, it's astonishing."

Recharged Real end Barca dominance

Real Madrid celebrate
Real Madrid secured their 34th Spanish title - eight more than Barcelona have won

Behind closed doors in a 6,000-seat stadium at the club's training complex is perhaps not the stage for the grand crowning Real would have imagined for their first title since 2017.

But that did not stop Zidane's squad pulling on shirts with "Campeones 34" printed on the back before lifting the trophy in celebration as ticker tape fell over the pitch.

"Today is one of the best days for me as a professional," said Zidane. "After everything that happened, the three-month break, it is fantastic what has been achieved."

La Liga titles have been in shorter supply than Champions League triumphs for Real this decade, with this only their third in the past nine seasons.

They won three successive European Cups in Zidane's first tenure but had recorded successive third-place finishes since their previous domestic title, as Barcelona were crowned champions.

Zidane was in charge the last time they won the league and made it his aim to reclaim the title after returning midway through the last campaign - less than a year after his departure.

It looked as if the Frenchman's side would fail to deliver on that objective when football in Spain was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic in March, with Barcelona top of the table.

But Real have been in scintillating form since the restart and did not look like losing after Benzema's opener on Thursday. His second from the spot put the game beyond Villarreal's reach, despite a nervy final few minutes.

In the end, Barcelona's defeat by Osasuna made the victory a little more comfortable but no less significant for Zidane, who was hoisted into the air by his players.

Scheming Ramos let off the hook

Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema scored his 20th and 21st La Liga goals of the season

Real's title-winning moment looked like set to be relatively straightforward. Step forward Sergio Ramos.

The defender was brought down as he entered the Villarreal box after a marauding run and, after a VAR check, put the ball down on the spot.

The Los Blancos captain has netted 10 times in La Liga this season but, rather than go for his 11th, dummied to strike the ball and instead rolled it to his right for the onrushing Benzema.

The forward fired past an unsuspecting Asenjo, only to for referee Alejandro Hernandez to blow his whistle for infringement - presumably by Benzema.

Real were given the option to take the penalty again and this time Benzema converted to make it 2-0.

Iborra then headed in seven minutes from time before substitute Marco Asensio thought he had re-established Real's lead, but Benzema had handled in the build-up.

"It has been a strange season but our objective was very clear once the league restarted," said Ramos afterwards.

"We wanted to win every game. This is the reward for all our hard work. 34 leagues, my fifth title.

"Zidane has been key, he is the captain of the ship and led us from the start of the season - we have always felt protected with Zizou. He is a unique coach."

'La Liga makes me happier'

Zidane's focus will now switch to Champions League opponents Manchester City. The La Liga champions travel to Etihad Stadium on 7 August trailing 2-1 from the first leg.

But not until he has savoured the second league win of his managerial career.

"The Champions League is the Champions League but La Liga makes me happier, because La Liga is what it's all about," said Zidane.

"This is a tremendous feeling because what these players have done is incredible. I am lost for words because I am too emotional.

"The players are the ones who have fought for this. It's true I've played my role but they are the ones who believe in what they are doing."

Real have been playing at their reserve stadium while the Santiago Bernabeu is renovated and will not be doing their usual open-top bus parade to the Cibeles fountain in the centre of Madrid because of current safety concerns.

"It's strange for everybody, we would have liked to have been with our fans at Cibeles but it's not meant to be," added Zidane.

"But I'm sure everyone is happy in their homes tonight. The fans always love to see the team win and we've done this for them."

Line-ups

Real Madrid

Formation 4-3-3

  • 13Courtois
  • 2CarvajalBooked at 54minsSubstituted forVázquezat 85'minutes
  • 5Varane
  • 4Ramos
  • 23Mendy
  • 10ModricBooked at 62minsSubstituted forIscoat 84'minutesBooked at 86mins
  • 14Casemiro
  • 8KroosSubstituted forValverdeat 84'minutes
  • 27RodrygoSubstituted forVinícius Júniorat 62'minutes
  • 9Benzema
  • 7E HazardSubstituted forAsensioat 62'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Areola
  • 3Militão
  • 6Nacho
  • 11Bale
  • 15Valverde
  • 17Vázquez
  • 18Jovic
  • 20Asensio
  • 21Díaz
  • 22Isco
  • 24Mariano
  • 25Vinícius Júnior

Villarreal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Asenjo
  • 2Gaspar
  • 22ChaklaBooked at 18mins
  • 4Torres
  • 16QuintilláBooked at 67mins
  • 15MorlanesSubstituted forIborraat 62'minutes
  • 19Zambo AnguissaSubstituted forTrigueros Muñozat 82'minutes
  • 20PeñaSubstituted forBrunoat 45'minutes
  • 11ChukwuezeSubstituted forOntiverosat 45'minutes
  • 23Gómez BardonadoSubstituted forCazorlaat 62'minutes
  • 7Moreno

Substitutes

  • 3Albiol
  • 8Cazorla
  • 10Iborra
  • 13Fernández
  • 14Trigueros Muñoz
  • 18Moreno
  • 21Bruno
  • 24Ontiveros
  • 27Ratiu
  • 28Lozano
  • 32Baena
  • 34Niño
Referee:
Alejandro José Hernández Hernández

Match Stats

Home TeamReal MadridAway TeamVillarreal
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home12
Away8
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away2
Fouls
Home13
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Real Madrid 2, Villarreal 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Real Madrid 2, Villarreal 1.

  3. Post update

    VAR Decision: No Goal Real Madrid 2-1 Villarreal.

  4. Post update

    GOAL OVERTURNED BY VAR: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid) scores but the goal is ruled out after a VAR review.

  5. Post update

    Hand ball by Karim Benzema (Real Madrid).

  6. Post update

    Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Manu Trigueros (Villarreal).

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Vicente Iborra (Villarreal) left footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the left.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Bruno Soriano (Villarreal) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Javier Ontiveros (Villarreal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  11. Post update

    Hand ball by Casemiro (Real Madrid).

  12. Post update

    Foul by Federico Valverde (Real Madrid).

  13. Post update

    Javier Ontiveros (Villarreal) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sofian Chakla (Villarreal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Villarreal. Conceded by Raphael Varane.

  16. Booking

    Isco (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Isco (Real Madrid).

  18. Post update

    Javier Ontiveros (Villarreal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Marco Asensio (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Santi Cazorla (Villarreal).

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 16th July 2020

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Real Madrid37268368234586
2Barcelona37247681384379
3Atl Madrid371815450262469
4Sevilla371813653341967
5Villarreal371761459491057
6Real Sociedad37167145547855
7Getafe371412114336754
8Valencia371411124652-653
9Granada37158144845353
10Ath Bilbao371312124134751
11Osasuna371312124452-851
12Levante37137174653-746
13Eibar37119173952-1342
14Real Betis371011164858-1041
15Alavés37109183454-2039
16Real Valladolid37815143043-1339
17Celta Vigo37715153749-1236
18Leganés37811182849-2135
19Mallorca3795233863-2532
20Espanyol3759232758-3124
View full Spanish La Liga table

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