Zinedine Zidane The Key Man in Real Madrid’s 1st La Liga Title Since Cristiano Ronaldo Left

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File picture of Zinedine Zidane. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Real Madrid claimed their file 34th league la Liga title with a 2-1 win over Villarreal on the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.

After a humiliating 7-Three loss to rival Atletico Madrid in a preseason pleasant in the United States, Zinedine Zidane insisted his Real Madrid can be simply effective as soon as the actual competitions started.

And he was proper.

Almost yr after that loss, Zidane and Madrid are celebrating the Spanish league title the crew’s first since Zidane returned as coach and the primary since Cristiano Ronaldo left to affix Juventus.

“We weren’t happy with what happened that day. When you concede seven goals, that stays with you, no matter what happens the rest of the season,” Zidane has mentioned.

“But you have to pick yourself up, and that’s what we did.”

Madrid sealed its file 34th league title with a 2-1 win over Villarreal on the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Thursday. The victory left Madrid seven factors in entrance of second-place Barcelona with one spherical to go. Barcelona misplaced 2-1 to Osasuna on the Camp Nou Stadium.

The embarrassing loss to Atletico got here a couple of months after Zidane was requested to return as coach to attempt to raise the membership from considered one of its worst crises in years, having been eradicated early in knockout spherical of the Champions League and falling out of competition in the Spanish league.

Zidane had give up lower than a yr earlier after main Madrid to its third straight Champions League title. He mentioned successful this yr’s Spanish league felt higher than the Champions League titles.

“The Champions is the Champions, but the Spanish league requires a tremendous effort for you to finish with the most points after 38 rounds,” Zidane mentioned.

It was the 11th trophy for the Frenchman with Madrid since taking up as coach for the primary time in 2016.

The solely earlier league title was in 2017. Ronaldo left on the finish of the next season, and since then Madrid’s solely titles had been the Club World Cup in 2018 and the Spanish Super Cup this yr.

With his means to handle egos and hold a complete squad stuffed with stars completely happy and performing properly all through the season, Zidane shortly turned issues round and obtained Madrid again to the extent it was enjoying at earlier than he had left.

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He efficiently took benefit of the unplanned pandemic break to information Madrid to 10 straight victories the crew’s greatest streak all season.

Players threw the coach into the air in the course of the title celebrations on Thursday.

“Zidane has been key for us,” Madrid captain Sergio Ramos mentioned.

“He has guided this team. He has shown that he trusts all of his players. That doesn’t happen with all coaches. And we believe in him.”

RECORD-BREAKING RAMOS

Ramos was among the many leaders when Ronaldo was in the squad, and his position solely elevated in the final couple of seasons.

He contributed together with his expertise on protection and confirmed his scoring means in assault, changing into the defender with most targets in the historical past of the league.

He scored 10 targets this season, with half of them coming after the pandemic break. He took over from Ronaldo because the crew’s major penalty taker and transformed some decisive ones in latest matches, together with in consecutive 1-Zero wins in opposition to Getafe and Athletic Bilbao.

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BENZEMA’S GOALS

Ramos is Madrid’s second-best scorer this season behind Karim Benzema, who has 21 league targets and nonetheless has an opportunity of surpassing Barcelona’s Lionel Messi for the league’s golden boot award. Messi, who scored Barcelona’s aim on Thursday, has 23 coming into the ultimate spherical.

Benzema, who scored twice in opposition to Villarreal, additionally completed with 21 league targets final season. The season earlier than, with Ronaldo nonetheless as his teammate, he had 5 league targets.

The 32-year-old Benzema had additionally scored in every of the crew’s earlier two matches.

SAFE COURTOIS

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois put to relaxation any doubts that lingered about him after an up-and-down first season with Madrid. He was stable all yr and is in place to dethrone Jan Oblak because the goalkeeper with the fewest targets conceded in the league. The Atletico Madrid goalkeeper had the perfect mark the final 4 seasons.

One of Courtois’ nice saves got here on the finish of Thursday’s match to maintain Villarreal from equalizing.

FORGOTTEN BALE AND RODRIGUEZ

Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez have been relegated to nearly non-existent roles in the course of the closing stretch of the season. Bale did not play in the final six matches, whereas Rodriguez did not get any minutes in the final seven video games.

Despite Zidane’s fixed speak about how he ‘counts on everybody’ in the squad, few count on the duo to stay on the membership going into subsequent season.

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