July 16, 2020 / 10:06 PM / 21 days ago

Zidane ranks La Liga triumph above Champions League glory

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said his side’s La Liga title win on Thursday tastes sweeter than any of the three Champions League crowns he has led them to.

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Villarreal - Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, Madrid, Spain - July 16, 2020 Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane celebrates with the trophy after winning La Liga, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Real clinched their 34th league title with a 2-1 victory over Villarreal on Thursday after winning all 10 matches since the season returned following a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Champions League is the Champions League but La Liga makes me happier, because La Liga is what it’s all about,” the Frenchman told Spanish network Movistar after winning his 11th trophy as Real coach, his second league triumph.

“This is a tremendous feeling because what these players have done is incredible. I am lost for words because I am too emotional.”

This title win will not go down as Real’s most thrilling and they had to grind out a number of victories in the run-in, also riding their luck against Villarreal.

But Zidane, who also won La Liga as a Real player, would take nothing away from his side’s achievement.

“We’ve been the best because we have got the most points and that’s all there is to say. For me it’s one of my best days as a professional,” he added.

“The players are the ones who have fought for this. It’s true I’ve played my role but they are the ones who believe in what they are doing.”

The title win was like no other for Real, who lifted the trophy at an empty Alfredo di Stefano stadium in their training ground, their temporary home while the Santiago Bernabeu undergoes renovation work.

The team will not be doing their usual open-top bus parade to the Cibeles fountain in the centre of Madrid either, in order to prevent the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

“It’s strange for everybody, we would have liked to have been with our fans at Cibeles but it’s not meant to be,” Zidane said.

“But I’m sure everyone is happy in their homes tonight. The fans always love to see the team win and we’ve done this for them.”

Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond

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