RONALDO HAILS TITLE SUCCESS

Cristiano Ronaldo spoke of his delight after helping Real Madrid clinch the Spanish title.

Last Updated: 03/05/12 at 08:01 Post Comment

Celebrations for Real Madrid

Celebrations for Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo spoke of his delight after helping Real Madrid clinch the Primera Division title with a 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao.

Ronaldo missed an early penalty at San Mames but he was later on the mark to add to goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Mesut Ozil as Madrid ended Barcelona's three-year reign as Spanish champions.

Ronaldo, who joined Madrid from Manchester United for a world-record £80million in 2009, was quoted as saying by AS newspaper: "It's great. It's my first league here in Spain and I'm very happy, it's mission accomplished and to win the league is great."

Barcelona's 4-1 win over Malaga earlier in the night meant Madrid had to win at San Mames in the evening's late game to seal a record 32nd La Liga crown, and they did so comfortably despite Ronaldo's early penalty miss.

The Portugal international, who also missed from 12 yards in last week's penalty shoot-out defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, saw his attempted dink saved by Gorka Iraizoz in the 12th minute, but within eight minutes of that miss Madrid were 2-0 up.

Higuain opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a superb 18-yard effort into the top corner, before Ozil doubled Madrid's advantage four minutes later with a far-post finish from Ronaldo's brilliant low cross.

Ronaldo got on the scoresheet himself five minutes after half-time when he headed home Ozil's corner for his 44th league goal of the campaign to all but end any hope of Europa League finalists Athletic getting back into the match.

Ronaldo added of his team-mates: "They are all very happy because it gives you a lot of joy to win the league after 10 months of battling; winning the league is very difficult."

Jose Mourinho's men will celebrate their first league title since 2008 with a traditional visit to Plaza de Cibeles in the centre of the capital on Thursday night, where supporters will be able to greet their heroes from 1900 local time.

Long-serving Madrid captain Iker Casillas, who has now won five league titles with the club, added: "The season has been very long and tough. We've taken a little step forward with respect to last season. The big pity has been the Champions League. Hopefully we can do it next season."

The Spain goalkeeper also hailed the role of Mourinho, saying: "The coach is also a very important part in this.

"We dedicate this to all Madrid fans who wanted a league title. We hope to take another little step forward next year. It was difficult to beat a team like Barcelona we've done it.

"We still need to win the Champions League, but now we are going to enjoy this."

Casillas' team-mate for club and country Sergio Ramos added in AS: "Congratulations to all Madrid fans. We are looking forward to getting to Cibeles to celebrate with everyone.

"Madrid are deserving winners. It's my third league and I'm very happy."

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ood lord that's got me unnecessarily excited. Damn you Storey. Cut to Liverpool being crushed under the wheels of Sparky's Stoke Machine and Firmino brought off the bench to no effect. It's the hope that kills you.

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