MADRID: Real Madrid clinched a 35th La Liga title on Saturday with a 4-0 win at home to Espanyol, with Carlo Ancelotti becoming the first manager to win all five major European leagues.

Needing just one point in their last five games, Madrid netted twice through Rodrygo in the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu before goals from Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema completed the win.

Madrid lifted the trophy in front of nearly 80,000 people inside the stadium, and the traditional celebrations continued at the Cibeles Fountain in the Spanish capital.

“It’s the first time I’ve won a title at the Bernabeu, the atmosphere is really special,” Ancelotti told Movistar Plus.

“If I cried (at the final whistle), it’s because I’m happy.”

Ancelotti returned to Madrid last summer to succeed Zinedine Zidane for a second stint after leaving Everton.

The Italian also won the Premier League with Chelsea, Serie A with AC Milan, Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain and the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.

Given they’ve been top since November, it’s no surprise Madrid won a league they’ve dominated for months, but Barcelona and Sevilla’s dips in form have offered the possibility of an early crowning glory. .

Madrid took a 17-point lead over second-placed Sevilla with four games remaining. Barcelona are one game behind but are 18 points behind.

With La Liga over, Madrid can turn their full attention to the second leg of their semi-final at home to Manchester City on Wednesday, when they need to overturn a 4-3 opening game loss to progress to another European final. .

“Winning La Liga is special,” midfielder Luka Modric told Real Madrid TV, as he paid tribute to the fans who couldn’t see the club win the title in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic -19.

“We played a great game, the atmosphere was incredible and we hope to repeat this Wednesday.”

It is the first Madrid to lift the trophy since winning it with four games remaining in 1989-90.

“It’s the first time we’ve won with so many games to play, that means a lot. We had an amazing season and now we want to celebrate that a bit,” said Modric.

Ancelotti rested Benzema and Vinicius Junior from the start for visiting Espanyol, and Rodrygo seized his chance with two goals late in the first half.

He combined with fellow Brazilian Marcelo to put Madrid ahead in the 33rd minute as he headed to the far corner for just his second league goal this campaign.

Mariano Diaz, gave a rare start in attack then won the ball deep into Espanyol territory and Rodrygo rolled in a second with a clinical finish past goalkeeper Diego Lopez.

Eduardo Camavinga played on Asensio to smack a third for Madrid on the counter in the 55th minute, with Modric then making way for Toni Kroos and Benzema replacing Casemiro on the hour mark.

Benzema scored his 42nd goal in as many games this season in all competitions to seal a searing triumph for Madrid on a historic day for Ancelotti.

Villarreal suffered a 2-1 defeat to Alaves, three days before the second leg of the Champions League semi-final with Liverpool.

Atletico Madrid could risk missing out on a return to Europe’s top club competition after losing 2-0 to Athletic Bilbao.

Copa del Rey winners Real Betis can close the gap on fourth-placed Atletico to just one point if they win at Getafe on Monday, while Barca host Mallorca on Sunday.