Real Madrid 4-0 Espanyol
On the day when Real Madrid needed just a point to win the La Liga title for the 35th time, they got all three in style.
Much rested with the Champions League return leg in mind, only Luka Modric and Casemiro were the surprise inclusions from the start for Real Madrid. Even so, it was another of their starters from the Manchester City tie which impressed most from the first half.
Marcelo may well be playing out his final matches as a Real Madrid player and he played and excellent reverse ball for Rodrygo Goes. Cutting inside, his shot buried itself in the corner beyond Diego Lopez. Espanyol came forward at times and looked dangerous, testing Thibaut Courtois, yet somehow without much conviction that they might score.
Just before half-time, Mariano put in a challenge as Espanyol tried to play out. Latching onto the loose ball, Rodrygo shimmied and then finished again into the opposite corner. It wasn’t the first time that afternoon, but the chorus of Campeones began to grow in volume.
After the half Espanyol kept the ball better and looked to cause issues for Real Madrid. Chances came and went and somehow avoided the net, in part down to Courtois. One of those attacks broke down on the edge of their box and Eduardo Camavinga broke with the ball, driving deep into the Espanyol half, before slipping in Marco Asensio to lift the ball over Lopez.
The reward for a fantastic season for Real Madrid! 🏆
They finally have their hands on the LaLiga trophy and the celebrations are underway at the Bernabeu and in the Spanish capital ⚪🎉 pic.twitter.com/Uvz0wqjE18
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) April 30, 2022
At this point the party had started, some of the main acts entered and the game occupied a place between victory procession and football match. Espanyol’s defence began to part more often as the Bernabeu applauded the victors. At points it felt like each of their stars had moments in the match, like little tributes.
Courtois and Modric had had theirs, Marcelo too. On came Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior for theirs. It was entirely fitting that the final goal, the one that closed the match, was a work between Vinicius and Benzema.
As Vinicius was let in down the left, Asensio burst into the six-yard box free. The Brazilian held his pass however, for it would have been wrong for Benzema not to be on the scoresheet. Pulling away from his man and finishing with his left from the cutback, the king of the Bernabeu had his crowning moment.
Carlo Ancelotti has won all five major European leagues.
The first manager in history to do so. Don. pic.twitter.com/TQTq2PjTVj
— Football España (@footballespana_) April 30, 2022
When the season is reviewed and explanations are drafted, the partnership between those two is most clear and obvious reason that Real Madrid succeeded where they couldn’t last season. Carlo Ancelotti facilitated that too, it’s worth remembering. The first manager to win all five of the major European leagues.
Real Madrid won a football match, that was part of the show, but Saturday afternoon at the Santiago Bernabeu was more of a celebration of the champions of Spain. It was well-earned too.