Real Madrid are champions of LaLiga again, dethroning rivals Barcelona.
A 2-1 win over Villarreal on Wednesday saw Zinedine Zidane’s men regain the title they last won in 2017, with Barca left to settle for second having lost 2-1 at home to Osasuna.
Madrid have been impeccable since season restarted following its coronavirus-enforced hiatus, having resumed the campaign trailing Barca by two points.
A 2-1 defeat at Real Betis in Madrid’s final game before the stoppage looked set to prove the turning point in a close-fought race.
However, as Barca have faltered, Madrid have ground out win after win and can now focus on ending a unique season with a LaLiga and Champions League double.
Here we look at where the title was won for Los Blancos.
January 26: Real Valladolid 0-1 Real Madrid
With Barcelona having succumbed to a 2-0 defeat to Valencia a day earlier, Madrid were given the chance to go three points clear at the summit but were made to work hard at Estadio Jose Zorrilla.
Rather than being one of their leading lights, it was the unheralded Nacho who produced a crucial goal 12 minutes from time as he met Toni Kroos’ right-wing cross with a superb header into the bottom-left corner.
February 1: Real Madrid 1-0 Atletico Madrid
Madrid were held by their city rivals in the reverse fixture in a quickly forgettable goalless stalemate, but Karim Benzema found a way through Atletico’s famously stubborn rearguard to prevent Diego Simeone’s men from doing Barca a favour.
Benzema greeted compatriot Ferland Mendy’s low ball in from the left with a fine first-time finish, and that proved enough to see off an underwhelming Atletico team and send Madrid six points clear at the top, though Barca quickly reduced the gap back to three points with victory over Levante.
March 1: Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona
Slip-ups against Celta Vigo and Levante were followed by defeat to Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie but Madrid returned to form on the biggest stage in Spanish football to nudge Los Blancos a point ahead.
An engrossing contest was settled as Vinicius Junior’s near-post effort was deflected in by Gerard Pique and Mariano slid home an injury-time second to give Madrid an advantage they soon surrendered with the loss at Betis.
June 19: Sevilla 0-0 Barcelona
The Blaugrana ceded the lead handed to them by Sevilla’s arch-rivals with a frustrating draw at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Barca were unable to break down a deep-lying Sevilla defence and there were soon signs that they believed it was a hammer blow to their title hopes, with Pique stating afterwards that it would be tough to prevent Madrid from reclaiming the crown.
June 27: Celta Vigo 2-2 Barcelona, June 30: Barcelona 2-2 Atletico Madrid
Further Barca setbacks soon came, as after a 1-0 home win over Athletic Bilbao, Quique Setien’s men let leads slip against Celta Vigo and Atletico in successive games.
Luis Suarez’s double – sandwiched by a Fyodor Smolov strike – appeared to have them on course for victory at Celta, but Iago Aspas bent in an 88th-minute free-kick to seal a share of the spoils.
They twice had the lead against Atletico, Lionel Messi’s 700th goal restoring an advantage given to them after Diego Costa put through his own net, but Saul Niguez’s second penalty levelled matters again, handing Madrid the chance to go four points clear at Getafe.
July 5: Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Real Madrid
Sergio Ramos’ 79th-minute penalty saw Madrid take advantage of the opportunity presented to them by Atletico with a narrow victory over Getafe, and they went seven ahead of Barca in the same circumstances at Athletic.
Ramos coolly tucked home in the 73rd minute after Marcelo was felled in the area, securing a victory that gave Barca a mountain to climb with six games to play, with the deficit – which they quickly reduced with victory over Villarreal – proving too much for the defending champions to overcome.