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Key positives and two key concerns as Sunderland face the Sheffield Wednesday Test

And so we go again. (Author: Gardener)

SunderlandNews you can trust since 1873Sunderland AFC transfer gossip: Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Brighton join Aston Villa in their hunt for Black Cats midfielder Wycombe fans need Phil Smith's verdict: The key positives and two main concerns when Sunderland face the Sheffield Wednesday test. And so we do it again. For the third time in four seasons, Sunderland must navigate the excruciating, nerve-wracking play-off gauntlet. At least on the last day, achieving that goal in the best possible way has proven to be an anti-climax. This was far from a classic Sunderland performance, but it really didn't have to be. League One Play-offs: Match schedule, TV channels, ticket details and all the information Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, MK Dons and Wycombe fans need NOW on sale with prizes for Stadium of Light League One Play-off clash Phil Smith's Sunderland Morecambe player ratings gain as Cats prepare for Sheffield Wednesday semi-finals Sheffield Wednesday boss gives Sunderland and Alex Neil verdict ahead of big League One play-off clash Please try again later A good moment proved sufficient as Corry Evans split the Morecambe defense with Sunderland's meaningful attack. The hosts actually pushed well and with real intensity through the first half hour, but one mistake was all Nathan Broadhead needed. After he managed to get to the goal side of his marker, he drove on goal, giving Trevor Carson no chance. As Plymouth slipped into a 3-0 deficit and saw a man sent off before half-time in their game against MK Dons, it was clear very quickly that Alex Neil's side were clawing their way into the top spot would secure six. With Fleetwood Town and Gillingham both struggling in their respective games, hosts Sunderland never really had to run the kitchen sink, allowing Neil's side to manage most of the second half and being easily the most threatening team. The quality of their counter attack should probably have brought another goal but in the end it didn't matter. Nathan Broadhead scored against Morecambe but picked up an injury shortly after. Job done, or as Neil put it, first hurdle cleared. It took a higher score than anyone could have imagined when Neil arrived to secure a second chance at promotion, but there was no real celebratory tone from the head coach, even with Morecambe celebrating in the background. Neil spoke of his pride in how his players applied themselves but added that after a day off it would all be about Sheffield Wednesday. He might have a beer with his dinner on Saturday night, he admitted, but that's all, but he also understands the assignment and the expectation: This time it has to be different. And will it be like this? There is, no question, a lot of positives. For the first time, Sunderland go into the semi-finals in good form, a side who are more likely to improve than ones who have licked their wounds as they build up. Neil's record since taking charge now reads impressive given the turmoil the club was in when he arrived after those back-to-back defeats to Doncaster Rovers and Cheltenham Town. In his fifteen games in charge, Neils Sunderland closely tracks two points per game, all achieved over the course of a season - but guaranteed automatic promotion. They inherited a side that had conceded the most goals in the top half of the division, and conceding just ten goals in those fifteen games and keeping seven clean sheets in that span. You're going into this play-off campaign with resilience, organization and growing faith. Of course they are not alone in this. The four playoff contenders are in fact the top four teams in the division in the last ten games. Sunderland may lead by 24 points but Wycombe Wanderers have 22 and Sheffield Wednesday 21. MK Dons have picked up 20 but ended their campaign on a high against a Plymouth side whose defensive record on home turf was impressive until Saturday afternoon .Sheffield Wednesday have an experienced, championship-quality squad that will be a tough test for a Sunderland side which is still trying to fill some important gaps. The Black Cats ended their league campaign at Morecambe with the somewhat bizarre sight of Dan Neil tussling with opposing centre-backs, making the most of a very unfamiliar role as centre-forward. It reflected the reluctance of the game in its final moments but also said a lot about the balancing act Neil will be walking over the next week or so. Broadhead's goal only served to underscore what will be missing if the striker, like seems likely, is unavailable to face the Owls after limping out midway through the first half with a muscle problem m. It's too early to get an accurate assessment of the damage but the Everton loanee looked dejected , as he went down with no other players nearby. This leaves Ross Stewart as the club's only fit, recognized forward and it was not surprising that Neil withdrew him in the final stages. An injury would have been unthinkable and remains so. Neil will also likely have to make more difficult decisions with the balance of a defense where his lack of full-back options still pose problems. Dennis Cirkin will hopefully return to the left of the back three, with Luke O'Nien being asked to fill that role on Saturday as Callum Doyle recovered from a minor injury. Cirkin's absence would be a real headache given his growing importance both inside and outside of possession during that unbeaten run. Patrick Roberts was a real counterattack threat for Morecambe but urged him to take on the role of full-back against a completely different caliber of opponents would pose a huge gamble. What Neil has is strong backbone, Wright and Batth are imposing again and Corry Evans excels beyond his early assists. Neil's side have shown they are capable of beating any League One opponent and the atmosphere at Friday night's Stadium of Light will be wild. Sunderland look better prepared for the play-offs than ever at this level, but that doesn't change the magnitude of the challenge ahead. Wearside prepares again. This site has undoubtedly given them real reason for hope. Please try again later.

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Explained: Why Bale was absent from Real Madrid La Liga title celebrations

GOAL takes a look at why Gareth Bale wasn't there when his club Real Madrid celebrated the league title (Author: Gardener)

Real Madrid La LigaReal Madrid clinched their 35th LaLiga title on Saturday, and they did it in style with four games remaining. Carlo Ancelotti's side ended the game in front of their home crowd, emphatically beating Espanyol 4-0 to take the trophy into their hands. The win sparked scenes of high spirits at the Santiago Bernabeu but one player was notably absent: Gareth Bale. Bale missed Real Madrid's title celebration after suffering from a back spasm. The Wales international explained why he wasn't there in a Twitter post, writing: "So disappointed not to be able to attend the celebrations tonight due to a bad back spasm but really proud of the team for winning the title Bale has been in won La Liga three times during his nine-year tenure at the Santiago Bernabeu and also helped the club to four Champions League titles during that period -22, with just two appearances off the bench in the Champions League. Despite his merits since joining from Tottenham in 2013- 14, Bale was criticized in Spain with the derogatory nickname 'golfer' former €100m (£84m/$105m) player. He also has a mixed relationship with Real Madrid fans, with frequent taunts in the stands at the Bernabeu and team-mates being forced to defend him. "We have to support him. I don't like the way Bale was booed the other day because he's a historic player for this club. When you whistle at a player like that, you boo the history of this club." Bale's time at Real Madrid is set to end in the summer but it remains unclear where the decorated veteran will move to. He will be available on a free transfer and a number of clubs have been linked including Serie A giants AC Milan, his former club Tottenham and even league side Cardiff City. Where do you think Gareth Bale should go?

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Why Bale was absent from the Real Madrid La Liga title celebrations

GOAL takes a look at why the Wales international was absent when his club celebrated (Author: Gardener)

BaleReal Madrid clinched their 35th LaLiga title on Saturday, and they did it in style with four games remaining. The win sparked scenes of high spirits at the Santiago Bernabeu but one player was notably absent: Gareth Bale. Bale missed Real Madrid's title celebration after suffering from a back spasm. The Wales international explained why he wasn't there in a Twitter post, writing: "So disappointed not to be able to attend the celebrations tonight due to a bad back spasm but really proud of the team for winning the title! Enjoy the night guys!" So disappointed not to be able to attend the celebrations tonight due to a bad back spasm but really proud of the team for winning the title! Enjoy tonight guys! #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com /RbXttKwHSE - Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) April 30, 2022 Bale has won La Liga three times during his nine-year tenure at the Santiago Bernabeu and also helped the club to four Champions League titles during that time . 22 has only played five times in the league, with just two appearances off the bench in the Champions League.Despite his contributions since joining from Tottenham in 2013-14, Bale has faced criticism on his part in Spain, using the derogatory nickname 'golfer' for a former €100m (£84m/$105m) player He also has a mixed relationship with Madrid fans, with frequent in the stands at the Bernabeu g ridicule occurs, and teammates felt compelled to defend him. "If a player gets whistled, we all get whistled." "We have to support him. I don't like how Bale was booed the other day for being a historic player for this club. When you whistle at a player like that, you damn the history of this club.” Bale's spell at Real Madrid is due to end in the summer, but it remains unclear where the decorated veteran will go. Where do you think Gareth Bale should go? walk?

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Why Real Madrid's 35th LaLiga title could be their craziest win yet

Despite many obstacles in their way, Real Madrid won LaLiga in style. This is how they stood out from the competition this season. (Author: Gardener)

35thThere is no question that Real Madrid are not only the best team in Spain, but also a worthy LaLiga champion. During their title march there was guts, glory, glory, intensity and, by Karim Benzema, one of the greatest performances by a footballer in a single season for Los Blancos in living memory. None of that erases how much of an odd, angular, unusual triumph this was - a truth that makes Real Madrid's performance all the more remarkable. After grappling with Espanyol and clinching the title with Saturday's comprehensive 4-0 win (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the US), there remains a possibility that we could take on Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Wednesday even more Champions League glory could follow. At the moment, it's still conceivable that Carlo Ancelotti's side will become only the second Real Madrid team since 1958 to win Spanish and European championships. Let this opportunity sink in for a moment. It is amazing. - Ancelotti becomes first manager to win all five top European leagues - ESPN+ viewer's guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more Get instant accessBut for now, try to put into perspective what a diamond in the rough this LaLiga title is Madrid played their first three games away, nominally a poor start, then their first Bernabeu game in front of just 19,000 fans. Construction work, COVID restrictions - this bright season started a bit unfavorably. On the subject of the Bernabeu, the redevelopment of the stadium, with the associated relocation of the venue, huge investment and reduced contact with fans, can become hugely expensive and even threaten a club's status -- not to mention their ability to win the big prizes . So winning this long trophy in the midst of all this disruption is commendable. It was the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge that brought Chelsea to the brink of bankruptcy and made its purchase by Roman Abramovich so important... In Glasgow the giants of Old Firm both faced extreme financial and social trauma and a lack of trophies as they pursued extensive Upgrades needed for Parkhead or Ibrox. Even the subsidized costs for the Allianz Arena, which opened for the 2006 World Cup, put FC Bayern Munich in such financial distress for a few years that they lost two of the four Bundesliga titles they could win during construction. And just ask an Arsenal fan whether the Emirates Stadium costs and the loss of Highbury (in the short and medium term) helped or hurt the club's finances and matchday atmosphere? whose current cost is €800m) that will rival any sporting stadium in the world and will shortly propel the club to overwhelming dominance in Spanish football, Real Madrid have been consistently frugal during the transfer windows and as a club (relatively speaking) as a result he bought just one significant player last summer: 18-year-old Eduardo Camavinga, who cost €30m up front and who, despite being seen as a potential exceptional talent, only made 10 La Liga appearances before this weekend. Are you surprised that it is? extra merit on a title win not heavily fueled by expensive reinforcements? Get real. David Alaba was a pivot but came on a free transfer - a good, well-planned, successful deal. For Madrid to play in a work-in-progress stadium, with a reduced capacity where the fan atmosphere has dropped, and without major investments to help the legs and lungs of a team whose first-choice XI this season (with an average age of 29) consists of veterans aged 32, 34 and 36 who have played 180 games combined - an incredibly significant achievement. Madrid's 35th title has other anomalies, but only the third in the last 10 years. Our champions twice gave their closest pursuers a lead when they played, but then each time forced them into one of Los Blancos' favorite words, 'remontada' ('comeback'). The more dramatic of these two "they will". , isn't it?” matches took place in Seville, a hotbed of passion and searing heat. Madrid, obviously tiring, allowed Julen Lopetegui's side a two-goal start amid the most extraordinary performances in the Champions League, looked set to crush the league leaders and then put Sevilla on the cleaning. The power, passion, inventiveness and determination of that 3-2 victory at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, after being down 2-0 and playing without their brilliant midfield enforcer Casemiro, will be shared with the winners, the vanquished and the vanquished every neutral who was lucky enough to have watched will be remembered for a long time. It is also an oddity that Madrid completed this after only having to play their bitter city foes Atletico Madrid once (a 2-0 win) and losing their home Clasico 4-0 to Barcelona. But still, think about things like this: Ancelotti's team only lost three times before winning LaLiga. The mark of a true champion. The defeat in Barcelona against Espanyol was unexpected and weak. An instant trip back to the same city, a Camp Nou Clasico and a 2-1 win that was far more encompassing and classy than the result might suggest. Loss to Getafe? Stupid and sloppy as it was, Los Blancos immediately followed up with a 4-1 win over Valencia, who love to damage Madrid whenever they can. A power play reaction. The humiliation at home against Xavi's revitalized Barca? The answer was four wins in a row before this weekend, 10 goals scored, six of those points were collected away from home. Phoenixes have risen from the ashes with less remarkable boldness than Luka Modric, Benzema, Thibaut Courtois et al. It is a sympathetic and much-cited nicety that this trophy completes the 're-poker' (as the Spanish football community calls a five-time triumph) of Ancelotti's championship titles in Europe's top leagues. conquer all. But let's not play around. If you've coached Juventus, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Bayern and Madrid, it's a reasonable bet that you'll collect trophies as league winners - no? It's gratifying to see Ancelotti add LaLiga to its Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 titles; an achievement that distinguishes him as a cosmopolitan, continental polyglot and manager par excellence. But this is a championship win that I would argue is backed by his three podiums from Courtois, the absolutely supernatural drive to win from Modric and a group of other generals on the pitch, and in pole position from the stunning brilliance of the Vinicius-Benzema partnership. A total of 90 goals and assists since August in all competitions by the French and Brazilian. Literally amazing. Vinicius was four years old when Benzema provided his first senior assist (for Lyon against Metz) and if the Brazilian attacker plays until he is 36, which is a reasonable hypothesis, Benzema will be eyeing his 50th birthday. They are another footballing version of the 'odd couple'. "Duo invent amazing freestyle jazz out there on the pitch. It hardly takes a glance between them to carve out or hide a scoring opportunity. They literally bring the essence of street football to LaLiga stadiums every weekend. Ingenuity, Wit, risk, will to win, kick-me-if-you-dare, now-can't-you-see-me-now-you-don't-stuff - I'll name the sum total...magic.We went through several weeks in which Madrid, the was in low gear up until Grand Prix weekends, it took Courtois to be amazingly good Normally, the towering Belgian, who has gradually taken a leading role in this group alongside Modric, would play in 'small' games if a part of the team was in third gear, a fantastic performance from the left or right top corner push and take down a scavenging attacker to save the day in close combat His fingerprints are on this trophy eb as well as every ball he tipped over the bar or around the post in a multitude of demanding tests around this country. Had he been injured and out for six or seven games, Madrid certainly wouldn't wear the crown so early, and maybe not at all. But it wasn't him, they are, and they deserve admiration and applause. Given that football is like the tides of the ocean - they only flow in, only to ebb and flow back again - there will be a relatively limited time for the return. Beat and rule defeated, weakened enemies. Madrid need to put things right in their first starting XI and in their squad. The ones that have overwhelmed them for over thirty years in which Madrid have only won back-to-back LaLiga titles once in Paradise, Modric still gripped by a fanatical drive to win, Kylian Mbappe potentially moving to midfield, defensive reinforcements like Antonio Rudiger, the Bernabéu full, passionate and making more money than ever before. Say hello to this title, but heed and hear the rumble of a Madrid-era coming.

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Another title for Carlo Ancelotti as Real Madrid complete LaLiga success

The Italian became the first manager to win the championship in each of the five major European leagues. (Author: Gardener)

Carlo AncelottiReal Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti became the first manager to win the league in each of Europe's five major leagues as his side clinched a record 35th La Liga title. Rodrygo (two), Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema all scored as an under-represented team – minus Gareth Bale, who was absent from the celebrations with a back spasm – drove to a 4-0 win over Espanyol. Ancelotti had rested the likes of Benzema, Toni Kroos and Vinicius Junior with a Champions League semi-final second leg at home to Manchester City - in which they trail 4-3 - on Wednesday, but it had little impact on the result. Spain's other side in the last four of European royalty, Villarreal, coming from a 2-0 deficit at home to Liverpool in the second leg, suffered a 2-1 defeat at Alaves. A Mario Hermoso own goal and an Inaki Williams penalty saw Athletic Bilbao beat Atletico Madrid, who missed a chance for second place. Champions Bayern lost 3-1 at mid-table Mainz, for whom Jonathan Burkardt and Moussa Niakhate scored before Robert Lewandowski's 34th league goal of the season equalised. Erling Haaland scored a hat-trick for Dortmund but the second-placed side squandered a 3-2 lead against Bochum with nine minutes to play after Jurgen Locadia and Milos Pantovic struck late penalties in a 4-3 win. In Serie A, third-placed Napoli went four points behind leaders AC Milan with a 6-1 win over Sassuolo after going 4-0 ahead in 21 minutes.

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Ancelotti completes "Grand Slam" as Real title win

Carlo Ancelotti becomes the first manager to win the league in all five major European leagues, while Real Madrid are crowned Spanish champions. (Author: Gardener)

Carlo AncelottiCarlo Ancelotti became the first manager to win La Liga in all five major European leagues as Real Madrid beat Espanyol to win La Liga. Ancelotti has also won titles in Italy's Serie A, France's Ligue 1, England's Premier League and Germany's Bundesliga. Real only needed a draw to win the title but victory was never in doubt as Rodrygo swung home from just inside the box. Asensio completed a quick counterattack before Benzema, who was resting ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final against Manchester City, came off the bench to play after Vinicius Jr. Ancelotti was replaced by Everton last summer following the departure of Zinedine Zidane Left at Premier League club at 18 months, lured back for a second spell at Real. The 62-year-old won five major titles in two years at the Bernabeu between 2013 and 2015, including 'La Decima' - their 10th European Cup - but was eluded at the Spanish title. He won his first league title as a coach in 2004 with AC Milan, the club where he won the league twice as a player in the 1980s. The Premier League followed in 2010 with Chelsea, before Ancelotti won Ligue 1 with Paris St-Germain in 2013 and the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich in 2017. Ancelotti's season could end even more gloriously despite Real coming back from a 4-3 first-leg deficit against City at the Bernabeu. If they reach the final and lift the trophy, Ancelotti would be the only man who would win the European Cup or Champions League four times as a coach, having guided AC Milan to the trophy in 2003 and 2007. Wales striker Gareth Bale, who is set to leave Real Madrid when his contract expires this summer, was absent from the team's title celebration. In a tweet, Bale said: "So disappointed not to be able to attend the celebrations tonight due to a bad back spasm but really proud of the team that won the title.

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Caroline Weir opens up about her future amid the Real Madrid connection after being voted Scotland's Player of the Year by the SFWA

There was coffee with Kevin De Bruyne and talks with Pep Guardiola. There have been two nominations for the prestigious FIFA Puskas award - and a third is very likely. (Author: Gardener)

Real MadridThere was coffee with Kevin De Bruyne and talks with Pep Guardiola. Manchester City have been good to Caroline Weir. But with a deal signed with City and a lengthy transfer talk in Spain linking the 26-year-old to Real Madrid, there's a feeling Weir has one step further ahead. Reports circulating in the Spanish press this week claimed that the sleek midfielder is "99%" certain of joining Real Madrid this summer. That might seem like a premature statement on the state of the talks, but what is certain is that Weir is far from out of place when he is linked to such a prestigious move. Oddly enough, Weir herself was quoted last year in a friendly podcast talking about growing up and forcing a career as a footballer, in which she revealed, "I've always dreamed of being a professional footballer... I thought one day I'd be for." Play Real Madrid. ” It can definitely come to fruition, but right now she's playing her cards close to her chest. "I want to win a league title, I want to fight for the Champions League," said Glen's SFWA's first Scottish Player of the Year. City has been a great platform for me to do that over the past few years and I want to continue. "I've been thinking about it for a little bit because when you run out of contract you think about it and you start weighing your options. There's still a lot of important football to play, so I'm not really thinking about off-field rumors. My head is just on City for the next few weeks and we'll see what happens over the summer. "It's flattering [to be associated with Real Madrid] because they're a huge club. That's the game, there's a lot of attention and people want to know what you think. City isn't without its perks either. The two-time FIFA Puskas midfielder nominee has managed to conquer the minds of elite players and managers in men's football. "It doesn't seem [that you meet in the corridor] but I saw Kevin [De Bruyne], we sat on the 3G pitch and had a coffee that separates the men's and women's teams," she said "He's great and he's interested in the women's team. Pep [Guardiola] spoke to some of us and they've been watching our training sessions because we're next door on the pitch. It's a one-club mentality that it's a pleasure to take part." Scotland has slowly started to catch up with other European countries who have invested heavily in women's football infrastructure over the last decade. "Attitudes towards women's football in Scotland seem to be changing, slowly at least, and this is one positive thing. I think there's definitely more things that can be done in the future, but it seems to be going in the right direction," she said. "You have to be successful on the pitch, and ever success The richer you are, the more people want to come and watch.

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Brilliant Benzema and Ancelotti's clean win - Real Madrid's LaLiga triumph in numbers

Real Madrid's 35th league title is a record among Europe's top five leagues. Stats Perform delves into the numbers of their latest. (Author: Gardener)

Real Madrid'sReal Madrid are LaLiga champions for the second time in three seasons - and 35th overall - after beating Espanyol 4-0 on Saturday to secure first place. Los Blancos have pretty much taken the lead during a season in which former champions Atletico Madrid and a Barcelona without Lionel Messi have struggled for consistency. In fact, Sevilla have been Los Blancos' biggest threats for much of this season, but Carlo Ancelotti's men never really looked in danger of relinquishing their grip on another title. Madrid's most recent triumph came back in Ancelotti's first season at the club, when the Italian became the first head coach to win each of Europe's top five leagues. While Ancelotti deserves plenty of credit, the title leap would not have been possible had it not been for Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois at opposite ends of the pitch. Here Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind Madrid's recent title win, which they could add to with the Champions League in the coming weeks. Not only have Madrid won more European trophies than any other side, their 35th LaLiga crown sees them overtake Juventus for the most titles in Europe's top five leagues. Her two titles in three seasons, the other under Zinedine Zidane in 2019-10, is as many as in the last 11 campaigns. Ancelotti's men have done so in style too, having taken the top spot with four games to go and surpassing 2007/08 (three games) for their earliest title win of the century. Ancelotti won five trophies during his previous tenure as Madrid manager but the LaLiga title eluded him. However, the 62-year-old can now claim to have won titles in Italy, England, France, Germany and even Spain - becoming the first head coach ever to win a sweep. He is also the oldest coach to win the Spanish top flight, some two years older than Fabio Capello when he also won with Madrid in 2006/07. Incidentally, Ancelotti and Capello are the only two Italian coaches to have reigned in Spain, with the latter having done so twice. Benzema paved the way for Madrid with that fourth LaLiga win, adding to the titles he won in 2012, 2017 and 2020. The France international has scored 26 goals in 30 league games this season, making this his most successful season in 13 years in Spain's top flight. Despite all of Benzema's goals, Madrid have called on goalkeeper Courtois to save them so many times this season. To put that in perspective, no goalkeeper in LaLiga has prevented more goals this season, while only five others in Europe's top five leagues have prevented more goals.

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Carlo Ancelotti makes history with 'Grand Slam' as Real Madrid seal La Liga title

Carlo Ancelotti makes history with 'Grand Slam' as Real Madrid seal LaLiga title - (Author: Gardener)

Carlo AncelottiCarlo Ancelotti made history by becoming the first manager to win the league title in Europe's top five leagues after Real Madrid confirmed themselves as La Liga champions. A 4-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday sealed La Liga glory for Real to ensure Ancelotti won the league in his first season at the Bernabeu. The Italian left Real Madrid in 2015 after three seasons in which he failed to guide them to the title. It's the latest in a long line of trophies he's lifted. Ancelotti won Serie A in 2004 while managing AC Milan, then sealed Premier League glory as Chelsea manager in 2010. During his time at PSG, he won Ligue 1 in 2013 before leading Bayern Munich to the league title in 2017. Ancelotti hopes he can find even more success this season with the Champions League title still a possibility. "I've had a very long season but I'm still enjoying it." "Now I'm at Real Madrid and to win with Real Madrid is very special. "This is the first time I've won a title at the Bernabeu (Santiago) and the atmosphere here is special." It's Real Madrid's 35th La Liga triumph, which the players mark after the game by beating Ancelotti throw in the air. "I told Marcelo that I want to continue," joked Ancelotti. "I enjoyed being up there in the air." Along with Bob Paisley and Zinedine Zidane, Ancelotti has won the European Cup or Champions League three times as a coach, two of them attacking AC Milan and the third in 2014, as Real won the trophy for the tenth time. Success in the Champions League this season would see him break that lead record despite a difficult task ahead. Real are coming from a one-goal deficit after losing 4-3 to Manchester City in the first leg on Wednesday night, although the Spaniards have beaten PSG and Chelsea this season despite not being at their best.

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Real Madrid fans pay special tribute to Ronaldo after the little boy's tragic death

The Portuguese superstar had his most productive period of his career playing for the Spanish giants between 2009 and 2018 and fans at the club paid tribute to his heartbreaking personal news (Author: Gardener)

Real MadridThe Portuguese superstar had his most productive period of his career playing for the Spanish giants between 2009 and 2018. The club's fans paid tribute to his heartbreaking personal news. Real Madrid fans paid special tribute to their record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo in Saturday's LaLiga clash against Espanyol. The Manchester United star and his partner Georgina Rodriguez confirmed the heartbreaking news of their baby boy's tragic death earlier this month, describing their newborn boy as an "angel" while adding that their baby daughter brings "strength" to the two in the middle emotional pain. Ronaldo sat out United's trip to Liverpool following the news but has since returned to the pitch - and has scored in his side's games against Arsenal and Chelsea. On Saturday, Real Madrid played at their Santiago Bernabeu stadium for the first time since the tragic news, with their fans marking the seventh minute of the clash by shouting "Cristiano". Ronaldo remains a much-loved and admired figure in the Spanish capital, owing to his successes with the club between 2009 and 2018. Ronaldo, who joined from United 13 years ago, wiped out the all-time goalscorer at Real Madrid. Ronaldo also won 15 trophies in his nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu, including four Champions League titles and two La Liga crowns before joining Juventus in the summer of 2018. The 37-year-old United forward confirmed his heartbreaking personal news On April 18, Georgina Rodriguez said on behalf of herself and her partner: “It is with our deepest sadness that we announce the passing of our little boy. It is the greatest pain a parent can feel. Only the birth of our little girl gives us the strength to live this moment with some hope and happiness. Our little boy, you are our angel. Cristiano Ronaldo and Georgina Rodriguez." Georgina first met Ronaldo when she worked as a saleswoman for Gucci while the striker went about his business for Madrid. She has close ties to Ronaldo's other children in Cristiano Jr., 11, the twins Mateo and Eva and gave birth to their first child together, Alana, before becoming pregnant again last year.Ronaldo's girlfriend spoke candidly earlier this year about how well the family had adjusted to life in Manchester following the striker's return to Old Trafford . Speaking to Spanish magazine Hola, Georgina said: "I haven't felt any big changes because we have practically the same conditions as in Italy and we have a wonderful home. The good thing is that we live closer to the children's school. In Italy we have we lived farther away." When you move with your family and move everything, you feel good.

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