Mourinho wins seventh title with fourth club as Real wrestle back La Liga crown
22:35 GMT, 2 May 2012
Real Madrid won their first Primera Division title in four years in style with a comprehensive victory at Athletic Bilbao.
Gonzalo Higuain smashed home a superb 16th-minute opener after Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier missed horribly from the penalty spot.
But the Portuguese recovered to beautifully create a second for Mesut Ozil in the 20th minute and got on the scoresheet himself five minutes after the break with a simple header from Ozil's corner, his 44th league goal of yet another prolific season.
Hero: Jose Mourinho is lifted up by his Real Madrid players after their title triumph
The win kept Madrid seven points ahead
of Barcelona with two games to go, Barca's 4-1 win over Malaga earlier
this evening merely delaying the celebrations of a 32nd title by a
matter of hours.
success means Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has now won the league title in
four different countries following his triumphs with Porto, Chelsea and
Inter Milan, Athletic, who perhaps had their minds on other things with
Europa League and Copa Del Rey finals to look forward to, finished with
10 men following Javi Martinez's harsh sending off for two handballs.
Madrid and Ronaldo started brightly
at San Mames, clearly eager to respond to Barca's win and Lionel Messi's
hat-trick against Malaga.
Party time: Real Madrid celebrate as they win the La Liga title for the first time in four years
Fabio Coentrao stung the palms of goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz before the visitors were awarded a penalty.
Martinez was rightly penalised for
handball, having raised his arms above his head when the ball struck
them, but Ronaldo's spot-kick was woeful.
The forward, who missed from the spot
in Madrid's penalty shootout defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions
League, tried to clip his effort down the middle, but it struck
Iraizoz's legs and looped over the bar.
Mourinho's side did not have long to wait for the opener, though, as Higuain, starting ahead of Karim Benzema, controlled a pass from Ozil, shifted the ball on to his right foot and rifled a shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Ozil made it two four minutes later, Ronaldo picking him out at the back post with a superb low cross from the right which the Germany international slid back across goal inside the far post.
Markel Susaeta fired an effort against a post as Athletic threatened to get back into the game, but at the other end Ozil's long-range effort clipped the top of the bar.
Denied: Gorka Iraizoz saves a penalty from Ronaldo (above) but Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring (below)
The capital club moved further ahead in the 50th minute, Ronaldo getting a free run toward the six-yard line to head home the influential Ozil's corner.
It was Ronaldo's 44th league goal of the season, leaving him two behind Messi in the race for the 'Pichichi' after the Argentinian's treble.
Madrid continued to push for more goals, Jose Maria Callejon seeing a shot tipped round a post by the overworked Iraizoz.
Doubling up: Mesut Ozil added a second for Madrid (above) as Mourinho celebrated (below)
Oscar De Marcos crashed a 25-yard effort off the bar for Athletic, but the hosts' misery continued when Martinez was shown a harsh second yellow card for another handball and sent off.
Ronaldo should have got his second in stoppage time when he raced clear of the last defender, but his finish was weak and Iraizoz made a comfortable save.
His disappointment did not last long, though, as the final whistle meant the celebrations could start for Madrid.
JOSE MOURINHO'S TITLES
2002/03: Mourinho won the first of back-to-back Liga titles with Porto in 2003 when, in his first full season at the club, he helped them finish 11 points clear of his former club Benfica after losing just twice in 34 games.
2003/04: It was an almost identical story the following season as Porto retained their title with an eight-point gap to Benfica after again losing just two matches. Mourinho also led Porto to the Champions League title that season before leaving to join Chelsea.
2004/05: Mourinho was an immediate hit in England as, in his first season, he led Chelsea to only the second championship in their history and first since 1955. The Blues lost just once in 38 matches to finish 12 clear of reigning champions Arsenal.
2005/06: As with Porto, Mourinho led Chelsea to successive Premier League titles following another dominant season which saw them finish eight points clear of Manchester United despite losing their final two games.
INTER MILAN (Italy)
2008/09: Having left Chelsea in late 2007, Mourinho took charge of Inter the following summer and again it did not take him long to work his magic as the Nerazzurri won the league in his debut season with a 10-point gap to Juventus.
2009/10: Mourinho's Inter retained their title during a record-breaking season which saw them become the first Italian side to win the treble of Serie A, Champions League and Coppa Italia. That summer Mourinho left Italy to join Real Madrid.
REAL MADRID (Spain)
2011/12: After failing to knock two-time reigning champions Barcelona off their perch during his first season at the Bernabeu, Mourinho tasted league success in his second year following a record-breaking campaign which saw them smash the club's 51-year-old record of 168 competitive goals in a season and pass the Primera Division single-season record of 107, which was set by Madrid in 1990.