It took Cristiano Ronaldo just one minute and 39 seconds to end any discussion on whether Real Madrid would be overcome by final day nerves and throw away their first La Liga title since 2012.
He scored inside two minutes as Zinedine Zidane’s team coasted to the trophy that has eluded them for the last five years. Ronaldo loves the last day of the season. He came into the game with a record of 11 goals in his last nine final matches of campaigns and it wasn’t long before he added to that record.
Isco threaded a pass through the gap left between Malaga’s two centre-backs and Ronaldo ran on to it, rounding Carlos Kameni before scoring his 15th league goal in his last 15 league games The attempt to time his physical peak for the most important part of the campaign has worked perfectly. It was also his 40th Real goal of the season.
Madrid only needed a draw but they were never likely to settle for that. Ronaldo’s goal means they have scored in every game of the season for the first time in their 115 year history.
Zinedine Zidane described winning La Liga as a manager as ‘the happiest day of his life’ and that the sense of achievement surpassed that which he experienced as a Madrid player, when he won La Liga in 2002-03 and the Champions League in 2001-02.
“It was very important (to win the league). It was a lot of years without winning it and we knew that the league is everything. For Real Madrid, because it is the best club in the world, we have to return with this league title,” he told reporters.
“The credit is for all of them because they have fought and the message has been that they are all important and have been key to the success. (But Ronaldo) is always there to make the difference and I am happy for him – it is a little different because he is always there to do it.
“It has been a difficult season that we worked hard for, with some tough moments, but after 38 games we are top and that is it. The Spanish league is the best in my opinion and to win it in this way is incredible – I am very happy. Now we can celebrate – we have to go to [the city centre] because we have to think about all the people that are part of the club. Later we will prepare for the final.”
Zidane does not get enough credit for the job he is doing in Madrid, with the league being the fourth trophy he has lifted in less than 18 months in charge
In La Liga, he has won seven points more than Barca during his time in charge (over two seasons) and 21 more than Atletico. Now he has a league title to go with it following Sunday’s 2-0 win at Malaga.
So it is much more than just luck. Zidane is the first Madrid boss to win a Champions League and a Liga title since Del Bosque back in 2002 and 2003 – and it is time to recognize that he too is a top class manager.