Real Madrid crowned champion of Spain after FC Barcelona’s defeat in Girona (4-2)

Real Madrid crowned champion of Spain after FC Barcelona’s defeat in Girona (4-2)
Real Madrid crowned champion of Spain after FC Barcelona’s defeat in Girona (4-2)

Intractable, Real Madrid won their 36th Spanish championship title on Saturday, ahead of their great rival FC Barcelona and the Catalan surprise Girona at the end of an impressively solid season.

Real Madrid won its 36th Spanish championship title on Saturday after the defeat of its great rival FC Barcelona in Girona (4-2) in the Catalan derby, at the end of an impressively solid season. Four days before the end of the championship, the Spanish giant is 13 points ahead of Girona, its new runner-up, with only 12 points to collect, and is therefore mathematically champion.

Here are the five key factors of this new success for the Spanish giant.

Bellingham superstar

Nobody, neither in Madrid nor in Stourbridge, on the outskirts of Birmingham, expected the English midfielder to have such an impact at the best club in the world, at just 20 years old. The British Golden Boy has nevertheless asserted himself as the providential man of the White House, compensating – at least on a statistical level – the departure of Karim Benzema to Saudi Arabia. In a system built around him, the attacking midfielder transformed himself into a goalscorer, scoring 10 goals in his first 10 championship matches, to become the new idol of the Santiago Bernabéu, who sang to his glory the Beatles’ hit “Hey Jude” to each of his goals. Even if he slowed down a little in the second half of the season, Bellingham is by far the best Merengue scorer this season with 18 goals in the league, most of them at key moments (double in the first leg and goal in the return against FC Barcelona, ​​double against Girona, decisive goals in added time).

Barça’s capitulation

FC Barcelona, ​​reigning champion, believed at the start of the season that it could upset its great rival, but its flaws and lack of consistency ended up being costly.
Let down by their defense, until then solid as a rock and largely responsible for their coronation in 2023 – the first since the departure of Lionel Messi – the Catalans were unable to follow the infernal pace of the Madrilenians, who only experienced only one defeat all season, against Atlético in October (3-1). Barça found a new lease of life after the announcement of the departure at the end of the season of Xavi Hernandez at the end of January, but it was too little, too late to hope to catch up with Madrid.

Mind of steel

“To win a championship, the matches you can’t win, you can’t lose”summed up Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti last month.
Without pity for the “small“, and uncompromising in major events, his team once again found the resources to get out of certain poorly embarked situations, often thanks to the individual talent of Bellingham, Vinicius or Rodrygo.

Ancelotti’s men produced two shows of strength by crushing Girona 3-0 in September, then 4-0 in February, while the small Catalan club managed since the start of the season to keep pace with the Madrid giant. Dominated on the outward and return legs by Barça in the Clasico, the Merengues reversed the situation each time and won in added time thanks to Bellingham (2-1, 3-2). Even when they seemed to be in a bad day, they managed to at least draw, like in Valencia (2-2) or against Betis Sevilla (1-1).

Robust defense

Real owes its coronation in part to its defense, the best in La Liga, while it was deprived of one or more starters all season (Eder Militao, Alaba…). The German Antonio Rudiger raised his level and held the house, while the right back Dani Carvajal is undoubtedly in the best form of his career. French midfielder Aurélien Tchouameni moved seamlessly into defense when necessary, alongside Ferland Mendy who was once again indestructible on the left.

Ancelotti’s choices

An expert in managing egos, Carlo Ancelotti did it flawlessly by adopting a new 4-4-2 system to highlight Bellingham behind the Brazilian arrows Vinicius and Rodrygo. He maintained his confidence in his two attackers even during their bad phases, and always took care to preserve the balance in the locker room, by systematically explaining his choices. The Italian technician managed to support the emergence of his young talents (Bellingham, Camavinga, Tchouaméni…) while involving his aging stars (Modric, Nacho, Vasquez…) at the appropriate time.

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