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Real Madrid champions of LaLiga for record 35th time

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Real Madrid champions of LaLiga for record 35th time

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Real Madrid won the LaLiga title on Saturday after a 4-0 win over Espanyol gave them an insurmountable lead over Barcelona at the top of the table with four games to play.

Rodrygo’s first-half double set the champions elect on their way to the title at the Santiago Bernabeu before Marco Asensio made it 3-0 soon after the break. Karim Benzema grabbed a fourth after coming on as a substitute amid jubilant scenes at the Bernabeu.

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The league title is Madrid’s second trophy of the 2021-22 season after winning the Spanish Supercopa in January. They will look to keep hopes of more silverware alive on Wednesday in their Champions League semifinal second leg with Manchester Citytrailing 4-3.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti — who returned to the club last summer for his second spell in charge — becomes the first coach to win the title in Europe’s “top five” leagues: Italy’s Serie A, England’s Premier League, France’s Ligue 1, Germany’s Bundesliga and now Spain’s LaLiga.

Ancelotti said: “It’s emotional. It’s an achievement. The season we’ve had in the league has been spectacular, with a lot of consistency. It’s thanks to the work of the players, and their commitment. Today we have to celebrate, I want to celebrate.

“It fills me with pride. I like what I do, and the five leagues [I’ve won] mean I’ve done quite well. I’m proud to be here and to win trophies for Real Madrid and I want to carry on winning trophies for Real Madrid.”

Madrid have now won LaLiga a total of 35 times, the most of any Spanish club, ahead of Barcelona with 26. Four of those titles have come since 2010 — in 2012, 2017, 2020 and now 2022, a period in which the club has also won four Champions League titles.

Ancelotti was appointed last June — after predecessor Zinedine Zidane resigned — and tasked with deposing last year’s champions and local rivals Atletico Madrid.

The squad was strengthened by the signings of defender David Alaba on a free transfer from Bayern Munich and midfielder Eduardo Camavinga in a deadline-day deal with Rennes, while there were two significant departures, Raphael Varane joining Manchester United and captain Sergio Ramos moving to Paris Saint-Germain.

The team started the season strongly, propelled by the performances of strike duo Karim Benzema — who has gone on to score 42 goals in all competitions, 26 of them in LaLiga — and Vinicius Junior. As rivals Atletico and Barca struggled to find consistency, Madrid built up an imposing lead, and they have topped the table since November.

Madrid have rarely looked like being caught since, and have lost just three times in LaLiga: beaten at Espanyol in October and Getafe in January, as well as a 4-0 home defeat to Barcelona in March.

When they have come under pressure, Thibaut Courtois has starred in goal, keeping 14 clean sheets and conceding 29 goals, the second-lowest tally in the division behind Sevilla.

Madrid have managed to balance domestic duties with a Champions League run that has seen them eliminate PSG and Chelsea in the round of 16 and quarterfinals, respectively. They will host City on Wednesday looking to book their fifth Champions League final place in the past decade.

President Florentino Perez was full of praise for Ancelotti, saying: “Maybe he didn’t expect it, but when we called he said he’d come running. He’s trained a lot of teams, he always says the difference here at Madrid is that the players are Madridistas, that’s a plus.

“He has a lot of experience of managing squads and I think he’s done very well. He identifies with Real Madrid, its values, and what it represents, that’s important.”

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Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti wins LaLiga to become first coach to earn titles in all of Europe’s top five leagues

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Luis Garcia feels Real Madrid must keep Carlo Ancelotti on as manager after they won their 35th LaLiga title. (1:58)

Real Madrid have been crowned LaLiga champions for the 35th time after a 4-0 win against Espanyol at the Bernabeu saw Spanish football’s most decorated team add the 2021-22 title to their collection.

Los Blancos took a vast 15-point lead into the weekend and required just one point to render the gap between them and the chasing pack mathematically unassailable.

The result also saw coach Carlo Ancelotti break new ground by becoming the first manager in history to win championships in all of Europe’s top five leagues.

The 62-year-old Italian had already made history earlier this month when he reached the semifinals of the Champions League in a fourth different decade as a manager — a total that goes up to five if you include his career as a player — and now he has further augmented his status as one of European football’s true greats.

An interesting facet of Ancelotti’s achievement is that he has won each of the five major European league championships as a coach on just one occasion, and as such he cannot claim to have the most number of overall title wins among his peers (more on that later).

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