Real Madrid win their record-extending 36th La Liga title after Barcelona lose at Girona

AP , Saturday 4 May 2024

Real Madrid have won their record-extending 36th Spanish league title after securing an insurmountable 13-point lead over second-place Girona with four games remaining.

Girona vs. Barcelona
Girona's Spanish forward #24 Cristian Portugues celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the Spanish league football match between Girona FC and FC Barcelona at the Montilivi stadium in Girona on May 4, 2024. Photo: AFP


Madrid reclaimed their domestic crown after beating Cadiz 3-0 earlier Saturday, and Barcelona then lost 4-2 at Girona. Only a victory by Barcelona would have stopped Madrid from celebrating.

Madrid also have a chance to add to their unequalled 14 European Cups. Madrid host Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday with their semifinal evenly balanced after a 2-2 first-leg draw in Germany. Either Paris Saint-Germain or Borussia Dortmund will await the winner in the June 1 final.

Girona leapfrogged Barcelona and pushed their Catalan rival into third place at 14 points behind Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti overhauled his lineup ahead of the decider against Bayern. Center-back Nacho Fernández was the only starter from the first leg against Bayern to begin against Cadiz.

Madrid only lost once in 34 rounds so far and beat Barcelona in both league “clasico” matches, as well as dealing Girona a pair of lopsided losses in their two meetings.

Brahim Díaz broke through Cadiz’s defense in the 51st minute at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday when the forward rifled a shot from the edge of the box into the top corner.

Season standout Jude Bellingham tapped in a second goal in the 68th, moments after going on as a substitute to put the result beyond doubt with his 19th league goal of the campaign. Joselu Mato added a third in injury time.

Barcelona coach Xavi’s team suffered the double blow of watching Madrid claim the title because of their loss while also letting Girona move ahead into second with their second big win in the Catalan derby this season.

Girona locked up a top-four finish and Champions League berth after opening a 13-point gap over Athletic Bilbao in fifth. They can now deprive Barcelona of a lucrative spot in the Spanish Super Cup if they hold onto second place.

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